Hypnotists -- Sweden -- Drama, Magicians -- Sweden -- Drama, Scientists -- Sweden -- Drama

The Magician

(The Face)

35mm Print


Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bibi Andersson,

A carriage bumps along a wooded path. Inside is a magician, Vogler (Max von Sydow), and his entourage, including his young assistant who in his better moments is a she, the magician’s wife (Ingrid Thulin); and an ancient auntie who has a sideline in love potions and, we suspect, eye of newt. They are a down-at-the-heels lot, curious about the devil out in the woods and about death, which joins them in their carriage. They are headed for a politically fraught performance, for the mute Vogler is mocked, as he is sought, for his “animal magnetism.” And no one does animal magnetism better than von Sydow. We see hints of Persona (silence as the last refuge of the artist), Fanny and Alexander (family theatrics as its own refuge), and Scenes from a Marriage (in fact, two). But with its fairytale landscape, Expressionist sets, and old-dark-lab sci-fi, The Magician asks to be taken on its own terms. Max the mesmerist and Bergman the magician, each with his “apparatus,” effect the willing suspension of belief.

Judy Bloch
  • Gunnar Fischer
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 100 mins
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Ansiktet (The magician) documents  

Winter light: A tribute to Ingmar Bergman (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2008

The magician a.k.a. The face (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, 2005

The passion of Ingmar Bergman (program), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, Bart Testa, 2005

Ingmar Bergman's magic lantern: life as art in retrospect (program note), Hopkins Center of Dartmouth College, Ulrike Rainer, 1988

The magician (review), Village Voice, Tom Allen, 1985

The magician (distributor materials), Janus Films, 1973

The magician (program note), Catholic University of America. Fine Arts Council, Stanley Kauffmann, 1967

The magician (program note), Beloit College, 1965

The magician (booklet), Art Film Publications, Vernon Young, 1961

Show of magic (review), Saturday Review, Hollis Alpert, 1959

Displaying 10 of 17 publicly available documents.

View all Ansiktet (The magician) documentation on CineFiles.