The middle part of Bergman's trilogy about God's silence - it is flanked by Through a Glass Darkly and The Silence - and the most austere, Winter Light focuses on a small group of parishioners found at the beginning of the film attending Holy Communion. The village pastor (Björnstrand) is realising he has become an atheist since his wife's death. His faith is further tested by an offer of marriage from a schoolteacher (Thulin) tortured with eczema, and the solace demanded by a man (von Sydow) suicidally depressed by the threat of nuclear war. The pastor fails on both counts, and Bergman gives us an ambiguous ending back in the church service - what he himself called 'certainty unmasked'. Never a comfortable film, it's finely acted by a familiar Bergman ensemble, and the awesomely cold vistas form a perfect counterpoint to the spiritual freeze.
Cast and crew
Max von Sydow