One of Bergman's warmest, and therefore finest films, this concerns an elderly academic - grouchy, introverted, dried up emotionally - who makes a journey to collect a university award, and en route relives his past by means of dreams, imagination, and encounters with others. It's an occasionally over-symbolic work (most notably in the opening nightmare sequence), but it's filled with richly observed characters and a real feeling for the joys of nature and youth. And Sjöström - himself a celebrated director, best known for his silent work (which included the Hollywood masterpiece The Wind) - gives an astonishingly moving performance as the aged professor. As Bergman himself wrote of his performance in the closing moments: 'His face shone with secretive light, as if reflected from another reality...It was like a miracle'.
Cast and crew
Björn Bjelvenstam Max von Sydow Naima Wifstrand Bibi Andersson Ingrid Thulin Victor Sjöström Gunnar Björnstrand