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The Virgin Spring Criterion Blu-ray Review

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“The Virgin Spring” will appeal to fans of Ingmar Bergman.

Based on the Swedish ballad “Töre’s daughters in Vänge,” 1960’s “The Virgin Spring” is a story about a deeply religious mother and father whose innocent daughter (Karin) is raped and killed by 2 scumbag brothers while the third brother watches. Karin’s pregnant servant Ingeri also bares witness to the horrible event. Eventually, the three brothers wind up meeting Karin’s mother and father who learn of the awful truth. What will they do?

The work of Ingmar Bergman is not for everyone. His films are arty, intellectual, bleak and more often that not, depressing. For cinema fans with an open mind or an adoration of foreign films, however, Bergman’s work is always worth a look. “The Virgin Spring” is no exception.

The story of “The Virgin Spring” is certainly simple, but it’s what is boiling under the surface that makes this film (and many of Bergman’s films) noteworthy. Over the course of a quick 89 minutes, Bergman and writer Ulla Isaksson create a deeply emotional and layered character piece religion, faith, sin, forgiveness, revenge, jealousy, guilt, and innocence (and a loss of it). Again, this can be a tough and haunting movie to watch, but good art should always challenge the viewer. That’s what “The Virgin Spring” certainly does.

The ensemble cast is really strong here with Bergman regular Max Von Sydow stealing the show as the devoutly religious father who has quite a character arc. The final 10 minutes with Von Sydow are a masterclass in acting. Birgitta Pettersson (Karin) and Gunnel Lindblom (the complex Ingeri) also give memorable performances.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W transfer is as crisp as can be. Criterion rarely disappoints when it comes to picture quality.

Audio Track: Swedish Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A quality audio track. No more, no less.

Extras: * A booklet featuring credits, essays by authors Peter Cowie and Ulla Isaksson, the “Tore’s Daughter At Vange” ballad on which the film is based on. * An intro by Ang Lee * Interviews with Gunnel Lindblom and Birgitta Pettersson about Bergman, working on “The Virgin Spring” and more * An edited 40 minute audio recording of Ingmar Bergman speaking at AFI in L.A. In 1975. He talks about film, productions, actors, music and a whole lot more * A dry but informative 2005 commentary by Bergman scholar Birgitta Steene

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June 24, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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