Through A Glass Darkly
This 1961 black-and-white outing about 24 hours on a Swedish isle during a nightless summer is the first stop on writer/director Ingmar Bergman's emotionally and visually bleak, psychologically fraught 1960s output that orbits ontology like a satellite. Karin (Harriet Andersson), recently released from a mental facility, is taken to vacation on a seemingly idyllic island repose accompanied by writer father David (Gunnar Björnstrand), younger brother Minus (Lars Passgard), and husband Martin (Max von Sydow). Here, Bergman's men practically do become islands as each man feels more and distant from each other and the woman they've supposedly accompanied there to help recuperate: Dad meticulously documents Karin's fragility as fodder for his next book, her sexually curious young brother uses her as a window into women's thoughts, and her husband's constant, selfless caregiving leaves her feeling as if he only cares doing the right and proper thing. And over the course of the hazily sunlit night, Karin slips more and more away from her so-called reality. A four-character chamber piece into melodramatic dread, with Through a Glass Darkly--the title comes from the King James translation of the New Testament--angst rarely gets more existential-ish than in this glacial 90-minute slow burn. Required viewing for Bergman completists, a hard slog if it's your Bergman introduction.