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Unformatted text preview: The Virgin Spring ( Jungfrukllan ) &amp;#2; 1960&amp;#2; Reviewed by James Kendrick Ingmar Bergmans The Virgin Spring ( Jungfrukllan ) takes place at a historical crossroads between the decline of pagan worship and the spread of Christianity in medieval Sweden, and similarly the film itself stands at a crossroads in Bergmans career. Having achieved cinematic renown with his 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night and his late-50s masterpieces The Seventh Seal (1957) and Wild Strawberries (1957), Bergman was set to solidify his international standing. The Virgin Spring did just that, winning the International Critics Prize at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and also the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. It is also a crucial film because it was the first to be shot entirely by Sven Nykvist, who would become Bergmans longtime cinematographer and would be largely responsible for shaping the visual aesthetic of his later works. In many ways, The Virgin Spring is a slight, almost rudimentary film--a sparse narrative of vengeance and atonement--but its very simplicity is what strikes chords. The narratives source is a 14th-century ballad Tres dotter I Vnge, which Bergman had read as a student and had captivated him enough to cause him to entertain thoughts of turning it into either a ballet or a stage play. Once he saw its possibilities as cinema, he worked with novelist Ulla Isaksson to flesh out the characters and the historical details, but without diverging from the general narrative thrust of the sad ballad. The story takes place in medieval Sweden and opens in the household of Tre (Max von Sydow) and Mreta (Birgitta Valberg), who are deeply religious Christians. That morning they send their favored daughter, Karin (Birgitta Pettersson), who is all blonde locks and girlish enthusiasm, on a daylong ride to the nearest church to offer votive candles to the Virgin Mary. Along with her is Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom), Karins foster sister who is in every way her opposite. While Karin is bright, cheerful, and blissfully unaware of the realities of the world, Ingeri is dark, brooding, and all too cognizant of how the world works. Ingeris pregnant belly, conceived out of wedlock, is a constant and inescapable reminder of her shame. For this reason, she resents Karin, and early in the film she prays to the Nordic god Odin and puts a curse on her....
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2010 for the course ~ ~ taught by Professor ~ during the Spring '10 term at Fudan University.
- Spring '10