Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly) (1961)

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Set on a remote island, a schizophrenic woman is discharged from a mental hospital and recovers during a family holiday with her husband, brother, and father. Her father, who happens to be a prominent psychologist, coldly observes her and takes notes of her behavior without her knowledge. This Oscar-winning intense drama is the first in a trilogy of films by respected writer/director Ingmar Bergman. Following are: Winter Light and The Silence.

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Critic Reviews for Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (8)

The acting is finely modulated; Miss Andersson's flirtation with insanity is a ballet.

Jan 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Through a Glass Darkly is one of the best and certainly the ripest of Ingmar Bergman's creations, a film as subtle as Wild Strawberries but solider in substance.

Jul 23, 2013 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

You can freeze almost any frame of this film and be looking at a striking still photograph.

Jul 23, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Elaborately rhetorical at the end, this 1961 film nevertheless develops its theme lucidly and with some of Bergman's most unforgettable sequences.

Jul 23, 2013 | Full Review…

It is almost superfluous to note that the film is beautifully made: visually exquisite, ingeniously knit.

Jul 23, 2013 | Full Review…

Not a pleasant film, it is a great one.

Aug 1, 2007 | Full Review…
Variety
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Audience Reviews for Såsom i en Spegel (Through A Glass Darkly)

this was a decent film. near the bottom of my list for bergman films, really the whole trilogy is not among my favorites of his work. the acting was great and bergman got some wonderful shots. this movie was very slow however, and you really sort of miss the point until the last 30 minutes or so. a very simple film taking place on a single set, this film was made to convey a very simple point about hope and faith. the final scene is really great, and the move towards a more theater feel in bergmans work is interesting, but overall not among his best.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

A gripping portrait of mental illness and family ties from a master director, and a film with a narrow focus and a cast of four (father, son, daughter, daughter's husband). Slow in the beginning but suddenly enrapturing, the stakes keep rising as we see the characters "mirror" each other's behaviour, frustrating each others' attempts at normal, intimate family relationships at every turn until we reach the harrowing conclusion. When I review, I prefer to get into specifics, but to me this is the kind of film that's probably better to go into blind, as it's full of surprises and subtle plot points that, while they won't look interesting in a summary - or an academic treatise, which one could easily write about this film - are captivating once you're into them. Watching it was an outstanding experience... I won't spoil it for you.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

½

In a time so inundated with cinematic gimmickry, a filmmaker such as Ingmar Bergman would never succeed. Rather than fancy camera work, he relies on powerful framing and the story itself to move viewers. The first film in his faith trilogy is starkly austere. Bergman's characters emerge from the water and enter a world of isolation. Not only isolated on an island that is surrounded by the silence and the serene, but emotionally isolated as well. Gunnar Bjornstrand plays the career obsessed patriarch whose forced and shallow attempts at reaching out to his family are obvious to all . Max Von Sydow is the husband who goes through all the right motions, but seems rather emotionless toward the wife he claims to love. Finally there is Karin, played wonderfully by Harriet Anderson. Karin is deemed mentally I'll, but her real suffering comes from the lack of God's presence. This yearning, this malady, she is conscious of, which makes God's silence all the more unbearable. What makes things worse is that those closest to her are unable and/or unwilling to understand her. There aren't any major twists and turns, just an sincere look at the existence of a loving God. In doing so, Bergman conjures not only powerful imagery, but also almighty observations about human existence. We are so adroit at refining our lives and suppressing what we really feel, that we believe our lies to be truth. These aren't easy observations to swallow, but it is refreshing to know that a gifted storyteller like Bergman has tried. It may be a bleak glimpse of humanity but I'll be damned if I ever find a film more honest than this.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

½

The first in Bergman's "Silent God" trilogy a subject matter that I find very intriguing. Though I found this film to be just as much about the intricacies of personal relationships as it was the intricacies of religion. I can't think of a better analogy on family / religion then this quote from the film: "We draw a magic circle and shut out everything that doesn't agree with our secret games. Each time life breaks the circle, the games turn gray and ridiculous. Then we draw a new circle and build a new defense." I love this line and believe that if more people in the world were open to new ideas and "drew new circles" rather then wallowing in doubt and fear inside their (often horribly antiquated) circles - acting "gray and ridiculous"...the world would be a better place. I know this might sound strange to some people (seeing how this is a black & white film) but it is just beautiful to watch. Bergman's eye is impeccable. I found it interesting that while time is implied throughout the film (morning, night, etc.)...visually they appear to be stuck in a dawn/dusk sort of place. Never fully light and never completely dark. Perhaps a subtle reference to their relationships with both God and eachother? The acting is stellar. Harriet Anderson in particular does an amazing job at drifting seemlessly between: ingenue, sex kitten, repressed wife and mad woman. A performance that is ultimately heartbreaking. It is definately a thinking persons film, so if you are somoene who likes to have everything spelled out nicely for you along the way and tied in a pretty bow at the end - skip it. If however you enjoy a film that stays with you for days - thinking about and discussing all of it's intricacies...then pop it in the DVD and ENJOY!

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

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