Silence isn’t always golden. Not in Ingmar Bergman’s book. His various film treatises on silence speak to us loudly on many planes of emotional existence, and those planes are never smooth. Of course, silence can provide a necessary space for personal truths to appear. For imaginings to ripen and take hold. Or, a respite from parents’ demands or fighting. We’ve grown used to the railings against a silent God that refuses to answer in The Seventh Seal (1958), Through A Glass Darkly (1961), and Winter’s Light (1962). But not, ironically, in The Silence (1963). Instead, Bergman gives us silence filled...

Reverend Tomas Ericsson is a man who cannot grieve. And, because he can’t, he struggles with both God and love. Tomas over and over coldly rejects his desperately loving former lover, Marta. Winter Light Ingmar Bergman 1963, slowly reveals the source of his loss of faith. Tomas loved his dead wife: “When she died, so did I.” This is a bitter man. Turned dead inside. Dead to his parishioners, his previous faith, the possibility of new love. Dead to a young congregant in despair who turns to him in terror for words of hope. All of this spells hopelessness and...

Antonius Block is a Knight in despair. A kind of despair that puts him right into a fight for his life. A fight that forces him to challenge Death to a chess game, determined to outwit him. Can he do it? What will it take to tip our Knight’s waning hourglass back in his favor? Certainly, Bergman’s famous allegory, The Seventh Seal, is about a man who has lost his faith. But, what is faith, exactly? Is it in a God? Or is faith really found in a capacity for love and human connection? Yes, the film’s religious symbolism reflects...