Peter Cowie

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 195

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Like all Ingmar Bergman's films, Through A Glass Darkly is an intensely personal work. Yet none of his previous films have been so profoundly Scandinavian in their composition or outlook on life. The isolation, the hostile duologues, the psychological malady are all reminiscent of Ibsen and Strindberg. (p. 47)

What distinguishes the film as a whole is its power and atmosphere. These are hackneyed words in the critic's vocabulary, but in Through A Glass Darkly, the dark forces of schizophrenia lie menacing behind all the simple scenes and conversations….

I am puzzled by those who call this film depressing. On the contrary it is among the most mature of Bergman's works and ends on a note of conviction. But the characters can only reach this final state of calmness if they have endured the most intense experiences and scrutiny. If one is prepared to enter Bergman's world, to accept his sudden variations of mood, and to accept in their context his conclusions, one will find this film a sombre but stimulating work of art. (p. 48)

Peter Cowie, "'Through a Glass Darkly'" (© copyright Peter Cowie 1963; reprinted with permission), in Films and Filming, Vol. 9, No. 4, January, 1963, pp. 47-8.


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John Russell Taylor