Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Silence (1963)


Sunday May 11th 2014, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema by Jeffrey Babcock: The Silence (Tystnaden). Directed by Ingmar Bergman, 1963, 96 minutes, in Swedish with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

Considered by most to be the final statement of Ingmar Bergman’s so-called “loss of faith” trilogy, it is also considered to be one of the most erotic films of Bergman’s career. For me it unfolds almost like a sci-fi film, about the lack of community we have these days, and the dark sinister forces that we no longer speak out against. A deep-rooted angst is at the core of the film, a kind of paralysis. But I must say that although that is sincerely my gut response to this film, it can also be interpreted in loads of other ways.

The film has a bare skeleton of a storyline, and none of the events are really explained, which is one of the mysterious beauties of this film. It centers on two women… one more sensual, who has a child…. and and her sister who is more intellectual (Ingrid Thulin). The film follows the eerie events as the three of them are traveling by train to Sweden, but are forced to get off and stay in a unnamed foreign country when one of them falls ill. The city they are in is obscure, and is perhaps in the midst of war or martial law. The hotel they stay in is surreal, and the film opens into a chamber play involving strange sexual encounters and even circus dwarfs. The tension between the two sisters accelerates in pitch until it almost explodes.

The cinematography by Bergman’s regular cameraman Sven Nykvist precisely captures the dark eroticism at the core of the film and heightens its sensual impact. In fact at the time when it came out it caused a scandal because some of its confronting sexually explicit scenes. One of Bergman’s best films, and also one of his most odd ones. Pure surrealistic dynamite.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, warm and cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net