The Devil’s Eye
BAMPFA Student Committee Pick
Jarl Kulle, Bibi Andersson, Nils Poppe, Gertrud Fridh,
Bergman called this film “my little game . . . for the amusement of the beloved and feared audience.” To the supposed Irish proverb “A woman’s chastity is a sty in the devil’s eye,” the denizens of hell (where the film opens) add another: “Marriage is hell’s pièce de résistance.” To cure the devil’s ocular problems, his minions—Don Juan and his cohort Pablo—are sent to the earthly home of a naive parson whose daughter is about to enter marriage as a virgin. Don Juan sets to work, but this being Bergman, and the daughter being Bibi Andersson, for the first time feels the sufferings of love and, worse, a woman’s pity. The parson and his wife take their own lesson in love, though the moral of this tale is anything but romantic: “Love shields one from . . . nothing.” Now hell holds a new futility.