The Virgin Spring
Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson,
Bergman went to a medieval wellspring, a folk song whose simplicity and stark violence he recreated in purely visual terms, for his first collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist. A girl in the bloom of innocent sensuality is raped and murdered. A young boy who has watched his brothers perform the act suffers along with them the terrible revenge of her father (Max von Sydow). Bergman’s medieval forays derive their strange beauty from the fact that early Christianity seems foreign and mythic to contemporary viewers. But no film in his oeuvre could be more modern in its Freudian overtones, and the agnosticism it provokes in the viewer.