Ingmar Bergman Ronald S. Librach - Essay

Ronald S. Librach

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The largest metaphor in The Serpent's Egg is the metaphor of the narrative film itself as a dream—the complete inversion of two levels of "reality." The film opens, for example, with a shot of people's expressionless faces, as they move in slow motion, like the figures in the boat in the dream at the end of The Shame; the shot is intercut with the opening credits. The film ends with explicit suddenness, accompanied by the metallic sound of a shutter gate dropping; the screen cuts sharply to black, and there are no closing credits. Throughout the film, there is also a vapor drifting up from the ground, whether it be the cold mist that rises perpetually from the cobblestones or the cigarette smoke which...

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