Preserving a strict unity of time and place, this stark tale of a young woman's decline into insanity is set in a summer home on a holiday island. It is the first part of the trilogy that comprises Winter Light and The Silence, films which are generally seen as addressing Bergman's increasing disillusionment with the emotional coldness of his inherited Lutheran religion. In particular here, Bergman focuses on the absence of familial love which might perhaps have pulled Karin (Andersson) back from the brink; while Karin's mental disintegration manifests itself in the belief that God is a spider. As she slips inexorably into madness, she is observed with terrifying objectivity by her emotionally paralysed father (Björnstrand) and seemingly helpless husband (von Sydow).
Cast and crew
Max von Sydow