Director: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin, Erland Josephson
An artist repairs to a remote Frisian island with his expectant wife and does battle with his muse, confessing he cannot sleep between dusk and dawn and is tormented by nightmarish visions of insect or birdlike demons.
For once it is hard to take Bergman's artistic angst seriously, especially after the obscure excesses of Persona, but his 'horror film', surely an inspiration for Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, is shot with dreamlike luminosity by Nykvist so that a match flame shimmers like a distant torch and one is never sure what is real or imagined. On the debit side von Sydow's is a taciturn, unyielding character with whom it is hard to sympathise and Ullmann's confides in us her misgivings and fears without any of it making much sense except that her jealousy and his guilt undoubtedly count for a lot.