Sight and Sound - 01/01/2003
"...One of Bergman's most austere films..."
Entertainment Weekly - 02/10/2006
"Shot in deceptively gorgeous black and white, this is the rare Bergman film in which the violence is as much physical as psychological." -- Grade: A
USA Today - 07/31/2007
"The film is a seminal, Oscar-winning favorite..."
Derived from a medieval ballad, THE VIRGIN SPRING was director Ingmar Bergman's first film to win an Academy Award. The movie represents a return to simpler themes for Bergman after the philosophical complexity of THE SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES. On its most basic level, it's the story of violent crime violently avenged, but it can also be interpreted as a religious allegory on Christian forgiveness. A young girl, Karin (Birgitta Pettersson), is raped and killed by two herdsman on her way to church. Her foster sister, played by Gunnel Lindblom, witnesses the crime and reports back to Karin's parents (Max von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg) shortly after the perpetrators arrive at the couple's home seeking shelter for the night, unaware of their hosts' identity. Karin's grief-stricken father decides to take brutal revenge on his daughter's murderers. THE VIRGIN SPRING represents Bergman's first full collaboration with director of photography Sven Nykvist, who had previously worked as a co-director of photography on SAWDUST AND TINSEL.
This haunting story of a father's vengeance after the rape and murder of his daughter was inspired by a medieval ballad. A young girl is intercepted by three herdsmen on her way to church and is subsequently raped and killed by the two older men. Unaware of their hosts' identity, the shepherds unwittingly seek shelter at the home of the girls' parents, a peasant couple. When the father learns what has transpired, he plots his gruesome revenge. This film won director Ingmar Bergman his first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.