Home Page  
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Swedish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 4 Discs
FEATURES
  • Exploring the film: New video discussions with Bergman biographer Peter Cowie (Ingmar Bergman: A Critical Biography) focusing on the trilogy, the director's inspiration, actors, cinematic style, and religious confrontations
  • Essays by film scholars Peter Matthews, Peter Cowie, and Leo Braudy, plus a new statement from director Vilgot Sjöman
  • Poster gallery for the films of the trilogy
  • Original theatrical trailers

A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman, Vilgot Sjöman
2003 | 266 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $79.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #208
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: August 19, 2003
Review Date: June 12, 2019

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

At the beginning of the 1960s, renowned film director Ingmar Bergman began work on what were to become some of his most powerful and representative works-the Trilogy. Already a figure of tremendous international acclaim for such masterworks as The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, and The Virgin Spring, Bergman turned his back on the abundant symbolism and exotic imagery of his '50s work to focus on a series of impacted, emotionally explosive chamber dramas examining faith and alienation in the modern age. Utilizing a new cameraman-the incomparable Sven Nykvist-Bergman unleashed Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence in rapid succession, exposing moviegoers worldwide to a new level of intellectual and emotional intensity. Each film employs minimal dialogue, eerily isolated settings, and searing performances from such Bergman regulars as Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Ingrid Thulin and Gunnel Lindblom in their evocation of a desperate world confronted with God's desertion. Drawing on Bergman's own severely religious upbringing and ensuing spiritual crisis, the films in the Trilogy are deeply personal, challenging, and enriching works that exhibit the filmmaker's peerless formal mastery and fierce intelligence. The Criterion Collection is proud to present A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman: Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence.

Forum members rate this film 9.4/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

The Criterion Collection’s 4-disc DVD box set A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman presents the director’s films Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence, along with Vilgot Sjöman’s television documentary about the making of Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie. All four films are presented in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the three main features sourced from high-definition restorations scanned from 35mm fine-grain master positives. The documentary looks to be taken from a tape master. Winter Light is presented on the lone single-layer disc while the other films are all delivered on dual-layered discs.

The presentations for the three main features looked great for the time and revisiting them recently they have managed to hold up incredibly well over the years, looking really good upscaled. Having said that there are issues more apparent today. Compression does limit the details, and this can be seen in some of the finer details of the image, where edges look a little distorted. Grain does show through at times and for the format it can look pretty natural, but Winter Light has a couple of moments that look really noisy when the grain gets a bit heavier. Each film does deliver decent detail and the picture looks sharp, but Winter Light does come off a smidge softer in spots, and the finer details have trouble shining through.

Contrast and grayscale still manage to look nice, and the blending of the grays looks smooth. Whites are nice without blooming and the blacks can be very deep, and this helps the darker looking moments in all of the films. Restoration work has also done an impressive job but there are still signs of wear-and-tear: there are still a number of small scratches, specs of dirt, and obvious pulsing and flickering. For the time, though, the presentations were all quite impressive and the digital presentations hold up to be upscaled.

Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie was made for television and it looks as though it has been sourced from a tape, which severely limits the presentation. It’s fuzzy, lacking any true definition, and is littered with damage. It can look blown out as well. I wasn’t expecting much (especially since the film is technically a supplement for the set, it just gets its own disc and spine number, 212 in this case) but it still looks pretty lousy.

Forgetting the making-of the rest of the presentations are fine and still look pretty good today. I would point everyone to the new Blu-ray set, which make use of newer 2K restorations and come about as close to flawless as the films possibly can.

Detailed reviews for each title:
Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence, Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture
Through a Glass Darkly

Screen Capture
Through a Glass Darkly

Screen Capture
Through a Glass Darkly

Screen Capture
Through a Glass Darkly

Screen Capture
Through a Glass Darkly

Screen Capture
Winter Light

Screen Capture
Winter Light

Screen Capture
Winter Light

Screen Capture
Winter Light

Screen Capture
Winter Light

Screen Capture
The Silence

Screen Capture
The Silence

Screen Capture
The Silence

Screen Capture
The Silence

Screen Capture
The Silence

Screen Capture
Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

Screen Capture
Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

Screen Capture
Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

Screen Capture
Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

Screen Capture
Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

AUDIO

The three main features come with two audio tracks both presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 mono: the original Swedish audio along with an English-dub.

The English dubs all sound to have had little (if any) restoration work, coming off edgy and distorted. As English dubs they’re actually not bad and do work with the films without being distracting, but the quality isn’t so hot and they all show their age.

The Swedish tracks sound to have had more work done and they come off cleaner and less edgy in comparison to the English ones. Background noise isn’t as bad and there aren’t any other severe issues. Fidelity is lacking, but they’re all still easy to hear.

Detailed reviews for each title:
Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence, Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is a lovely looking set, each film coming in its own keep case with its own insert, even Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie. Unfortunately the on-disc supplements are severely lacking and for what is a pretty big release this is a huge disappointment. Outside of each film coming with their own respective theatrical trailer (the American ones from Janus Films) each film also comes with a short interview with film scholar Peter Cowie, each running between 10 and 11-minutes. For Through a Glass Darkly he talks about that film and the trilogy itself. For the other films he addresses controversies around them (the sex scenes in The Silence) or how Bergman’s techniques and look for his films changed (the lighting and more natural look found in Winter Light). They only run around 10-minutes each but do provide decent insights into the trilogy and Bergman’s struggle with his religious beliefs.

The Silence actually comes with one more feature: a photo gallery featuring a handful of posters for the films, with The Silence receiving more. In his interview Cowie mentioned there was a poster that listed the times in the film that sex scenes appear (so people wouldn’t have to actually watch the film I guess) but that one sadly seems to be missing.

The most significant feature, though, is found on disc 4 and covers the making of Winter Light: the 5-episode, 146-minute television documentary on the making of Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie, directed by Vilgot Sjöman. The film even receives its own spine number on DVD, #212 (the new Blu-ray edition doesn’t, placing it on the same disc with Winter Light). As a making-of documentary it never really rises above others of its type but getting such an intimate portrait of Bergman and how he goes about developing a film is still priceless. Each of the five parts cover a specific aspect of the production (with the last part being a straight interview between Bergman and Sjöman about the release and experience), we get to see development and pre-production before moving onto the actual filming, watching Bergman work with his actors (though Sjöman admits in an essay included with the DVD but not in this set that these were staged by Bergman specifically for the documentary). The best portion, though, covers post-production, where Bergman talks about how he constructs his films and the editing process. Again, I didn’t find it to be constructed in a particularly original, or even interesting way, but I enjoyed watching Bergman work and listening to him go through his process in an almost step-by-step manner.

Each disc comes with its own insert, though, featuring essays on the films. Through a Glass Darkly features a short write-up about the trilogy followed by an essay on the first film written by Peter Matthews. The other two films in the trilogy then feature inserts with essays by Peter Cowie and Leo Braudy respectively. Sjöman then provides a very short essay about his experience making Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie in the insert found with that film. These essays never made it to the Blu-ray edition.

It’s a pretty scant and collection of features. Though Cowie’s contribution and the making-of documentary do add some value, the lack of much else about each film in this set make it feel a bit underwhelming overall.

Detailed reviews for each title:
Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence, Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie

5/10

CLOSING

Nice presentations unfortunately don’t make up for the lack of supplementary material. I would point everyone to the new Blu-ray edition, which delivers better presentations and more features.


View packaging for this DVD

Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca