[movie] The Virgin Spring

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[movie] The Virgin Spring

Postby doomed1 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:40 pm

Title: The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Studio: Janus Films
Run Time: 89 minutes
Original Release: Febuary 1960 (Sweden), November 1960 (USA)
Genre: crime, horror, drama

The Virgin Spring is a movie that I had watched in class over the last week. It was a black and white movie released in 1960 in Sweden.


The Virgin Spring is a rather simple movie. It’s pretty much about a young well to do Swedish virgin who goes off to church to deliver candles, but is intercepted by some shady characters and then raped (graphically displayed in the movie). As the legend goes, a spring wells up underneath her when she is killed after the assault.

When I had initially watched this movie, I was not very excited. I had just seen Becket beforehand and I thought it was rather cheesy. I did not see much value in seeing a foreign film that was made during an age of traditional sensibilities. However, as soon as my teacher loaded up the disk and turned up the volume a little, there was a background sound of the virgin (named Karin) singing a song (about what, I have no idea). It was pleasantly haunting and piqued my interest in the film as something beyond just a class waster.

The other characters, especially the nameless goat herders who do the dirty deed, were surprisingly realistic, and any sort of idealism was retained for the young Karin, whose tragic end highlighted where that got her.

Though by far the greatest aspect of this movie was the comparison it made with paganism and Christianity in the 14th century. The Christian themes were hardly subtle, but the pagan themes were deeper engrained into the setting. There was only place to imply their existence through how certain characters acted with respect to the Christian faith. The only time it was overtly shown was when Karin’s half sister, Ingeri, invoked the name of Odin at the very beginning. It effectively displayed the waning presence of the old way and bringing about the new way. It did get cheesy at the end when the father, Töre went “medieval” on his daughter’s assaulters and then asked for forgiveness from God. Even worse was when the half sister begged forgiveness for wishing the harm upon Karin, but it all flowed rather well and ultimately got the point across. The event was an allegory for the transformation of the medieval northern lands from a pagan polytheism that supported a culture of violence, to Christianity’s tradition of peace and empathy. Of course, it is a load of pro-Christian propaganda, but its well put together and is actually a bit unsettling, especially during the rape scene.

The acting was strong and the voices were neither forced nor melodramatic (except at the end). The physical struggles are well made and put together as well, even going so far as to roll in the fire.

There was no background music to set the mood, but in a way, the silence was equally effective. No cheesy crescendos to highlight the rape, nor the revenge. Real life doesn’t have theme music…

Overall, it was an enjoyable viewing. I did not cheer for a movie because it was dark and I could sleep in class, I cheered simply because it was an enjoyable movie that, although short, was amazing today and in its time. I rate it a 4/5
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Postby Nami-San » Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:54 am

While I haven't seen this movie in a few years, I doubt that I would have any change in my rating since I last saw it.  I rate movies out of the more traditional 4-Star system, and easily give it a 4.  It is not my favorite Ingmar Bergman film(that goes rather easily to The Seventh Seal, but it was a very good film.
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Postby RuneX » Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:11 am

ugh, oh well, to each thier own. For me, anything older than 1975 gets an automatic 1star. Aside from a very limited few shows and animation.(ie, wizard of oz, jetsons, batman, etc...)

Good review, but I dont think id ever see myself watching it.
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Postby Nami-San » Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:28 pm

Older than 1975 isn't good enough?  The oldest movie I've seen in the theater is the incredible It Happened One Night from 1934, and I think the oldest I have seen is from 1915.  There are so many great movies from the past that it makes little sense to just ignore them because of that.
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Postby RuneX » Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:37 pm

Nami-San wrote:Older than 1975 isn't good enough?  The oldest movie I've seen in the theater is the incredible It Happened One Night from 1934, and I think the oldest I have seen is from 1915.  There are so many great movies from the past that it makes little sense to just ignore them because of that.


Not at all to me, you see, I dont like black and white. Never have, just a personal preferance. Technicolor is usually even worse. Its really nothing more than the film quality that I dont like, as it gives me a headache to watch it.

Another issue is without the special effects, I get bored rather fast. May seem shallow, but a good plot without any modern comedy or good budget action just doesnt appeal to me. Granted, the odds of me laughing at any comedy is about as good as the statue of liberty floating off to the north pole tomorrow, but still I prefer things that are new. I just cant imagine how people can be entertained by stale old shows.(another thing is I hate dramas, which would be the only genre that could be acceptable for being old.)
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Postby Veoryn87 » Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:46 pm

I love I Love Lucy.  It's rare for me to watch old movies though.
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Postby doomed1 » Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:13 am

RuneX wrote:
Nami-San wrote:Older than 1975 isn't good enough?  The oldest movie I've seen in the theater is the incredible It Happened One Night from 1934, and I think the oldest I have seen is from 1915.  There are so many great movies from the past that it makes little sense to just ignore them because of that.


Not at all to me, you see, I dont like black and white. Never have, just a personal preferance. Technicolor is usually even worse. Its really nothing more than the film quality that I dont like, as it gives me a headache to watch it.

Another issue is without the special effects, I get bored rather fast. May seem shallow, but a good plot without any modern comedy or good budget action just doesnt appeal to me. Granted, the odds of me laughing at any comedy is about as good as the statue of liberty floating off to the north pole tomorrow, but still I prefer things that are new. I just cant imagine how people can be entertained by stale old shows.(another thing is I hate dramas, which would be the only genre that could be acceptable for being old.)


this is actually pretty deep. its not big on special effects. it doesnt even try to hide the rape scene. i guess the dialogue could be considered cheesy, and it can get boring from time to time due to the lack of soundtrack, but it was still enjoyable and disturbed me in such subtle ways that modern films seem to lack.
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