Virgin Spring

The Virgin Spring

4.5 2
Director: Ingmar Bergman

Cast: Ingmar Bergman, Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Birgitta Pettersson

     
 

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Ingmar Bergman's powerful tale of brutality and revenge as Medieval Sweden is torn between paganism and Christianity has been given a typically fine presentation on DVD in this release from The Criterion Collection. The Virgin Spring was Bergman's first collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and while the director would later make greater use of

Overview

Ingmar Bergman's powerful tale of brutality and revenge as Medieval Sweden is torn between paganism and Christianity has been given a typically fine presentation on DVD in this release from The Criterion Collection. The Virgin Spring was Bergman's first collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and while the director would later make greater use of Nykvist's striking palate of light and shade, this transfer looks striking indeed; presented in the film's original 1.33:1 full-frame ratio, the grey scale is superb and the picture is sharp and rich throughout. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and sounds crisp and well-detailed; the original Swedish-language soundtrack is accompanied by a dubbed English track, and another alternate track includes a stiff but well-researched commentary track from film historian Birgitta Steene. The disc also includes a question and answer session Bergman conducted for film students at the American Film Institute in 1975 (unfortunately available in audio form only), as well as interviews with two of the film's actresses, Gunnel Lindblom and Birgitta Pettersson, and an introduction from filmmaker Ang Lee, who talks about its influence on his own work. The booklet that accompanies the disc features an essay by Bergman expert Peter Cowie, notes from screenwriter Ulla Isaksson, a letter from Bergman regarding the censorship of the film's rape scene in the United States, and a translation of the Medieval ballad that inspired the story. The Virgin Spring earned Ingmar Bergman an Academy Award for "Best Foreign Film" in 1960, and this DVD release from Criterion is essential viewing for serious film fans.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
One of Bergman's simplest yet most powerful films, it fuses medieval Christianity with paganism in its enactment of rituals sacred and profane. Eschewing all but the most basic of symbols, the director roots his tale of death and transfiguration in the natural world, implying the unruly force of both instinctive human drives and the primitive beliefs that held sway long before the arrival of the Christian faith embraced by the family of Max Von Sydow's farmer. Bergman sketches the small joys and petty jealousies of the family with a bold economy, including some nasty foreshadowing in the prank played by spiteful servant Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom) on the slightly spoiled daughter, Karin (Birgitta Pettersson). The director orchestrates the confrontation of her innocence and the shepherds' brutality with the utmost care and deliberateness, in fashioning a scene of sexual assault all the more disturbing for its naturalism. In the film's most indelible moment, Karin's mother leans back in frozen horror as one of the rapists unwittingly offers her the girl's bloodstained garment. But Von Sydow is the focal point here, a man of deep faith and strict self-discipline, he's shocked both by a God who would allow such a tragedy to befall him and by his own transgression, in savagely dispatching his daughter's murderers. In a denouement that restores the farmer's belief, Bergman pays tribute to the simple faith of the medieval world. While the flawless acting of the director's stock company and the outstanding work of Sven Nykvist is almost too familiar to require mention, the film's fortress-like set is particularly noteworthy in its evocation of an entirely foreign world.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/24/2006
UPC:
0715515017121
Original Release:
1959
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
477

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Audio commentary by Ingmar Bergman scholar Birgitta Steene; Introduction by filmmaker Ang Lee; New video interviews with actresses Gunnel Lindblom and Birgitta Pettersson; An audio recording of a 1975 American Film Institute seminar by Ingmar Bergman; Optional English-dubbed soundtrack; New and improved English subtitle translation; A 28-page booklet featuring essays by film scholar Peter Cowie and screenwriter Ulla Isaksson, the medieval ballad on which the film is based, and a letter from Bergman on the film's controversial rape scene

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Max von Sydow Herr Tore
Birgitta Valberg Mareta Tore
Birgitta Pettersson Karin
Brigitta Pettersson Karin Tore
Gunnel Lindblom Ingeri
Axel Duberg Thin Herdsman
Tor Isedal Mute Herdsman
Allan Edwall Beggar
Ove Porath Boy
Axel Slangus Bridge Keeper
Gudrun Brost Frida
Oscar Ljung Simon
Leif Forstenberg Farm-hand

Technical Credits
Ingmar Bergman Director,Producer
Allan Ekeland Producer
Allan Ekelund Producer
Lenn Hjortzberg Asst. Director
P.A. Lundgren Art Director
Erik Nordgren Score Composer
Sven Nykvist Cinematographer
Oscar Rosander Editor
Marik Vos-Lundh Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Virgin Spring
1. Ingeri [3:49]
2. Prayers and Morning Chores [5:47]
3. A Malicious Gesture [1:58]
4. Spoiled Karin [6:26]
5. Traveling to Church [4:32]
6. Karin and Ingeri [4:06]
7. The Old Man in the Woods [4:17]
8. Three Goatherds [3:30]
9. Princess Karin [2:13]
10. Tragedy [7:01]
11. Keeping Watch [1:43]
12. Hospitality [7:58]
13. Frightening Words [4:31]
14. Märeta Worries [5:09]
15. The Truth/Ingeri's Confession [4:50]
16. Preparations [3:53]
17. Töre's Revenge [9:14]
18. Journey to the Site [3:21]
19. Töre's Vow [2:38]
20. The Virgin Spring [2:28]
1. Paganism and Christianity [3:49]
2. Ingeri [5:47]
3. Adapting the Ballad [1:58]
4. A Psychological Framework [6:26]
5. Family Dynamics/Cinematography [4:32]
6. Believability [4:06]
7. Religious Practices [4:17]
8. Dalecarlia [3:30]
9. Personal Reasons [2:13]
10. The Power of the Rape Scene [7:01]
11. The Boy [1:43]
12. Critique [7:58]
13. The Child Sees/Close-Ups [4:31]
14. Film and Theater [5:09]
15. Ritual and Influence [4:50]
16. Purification and Retribution [3:53]
17. Reception/Classical Period [9:14]
18. Atonement [3:21]
19. Anachronism/The Miracle [2:38]
20. Communication and Participation [2:28]

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The Virgin Spring 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No one goes to see a Bergman film for fun (well, no "normal" person anyway). This is a film you have to prepare yourself for mentally. You have to examine your conscience about the topics raised in this film. At the end of the film, you should be tired (mentally) but it's a journey well worth taking. As usual, Max Von Sydow is wonderful - his tortured soul is almost painful to watch. Questions aren't always answered, but you'll come away from this movie with the feeling that you've somehow been entertained and educated at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago