Winter Musings

As one of the films surrounding the 1,000th movie event I discussed a few weeks ago, I recently watched Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light. It is the 2nd in what he called the “Silence of God” trilogy. I haven’t seen the other two (Through a Glass Darkly and The Silence), but I was floored by Winter Light. The central character is a pastor who has lost his faith after the death of his wife, but who continues to go through the now-empty motions of leading services for his small congregation.

A few weeks before I watched it, a friend sent me an excellent essay on the film that appeared in the New Yorker last month, and I found myself returning to it after watching the movie. It’s a fascinating contemplation of what the author calls “the power of aesthetics to shape our lives.” I definitely recommend both the film and the essay. After the excerpt are shots of the two paintings referenced in the piece:

So what was on offer that night? Nothing of interest but a Bergman film, “Winter Light,” showing at a local church. I wasn’t a churchgoer, nor was Rob, but neither of us had seen the movie, and, after all, it was Bergman, and free, so we went.

The church was cold. There couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, thirty of us scattered around the pews in our overcoats and scarves. The minister, a rugged-looking man with a Northern accent, stood before the screen and welcomed us, said he looked forward to the discussion that would follow the film. He was direct and plain in his speech, without a trace of the fluty, elevated manner my English friends so loved to parody in their High Church chaplains. Before taking his seat, he bowed his head and asked us to join him in prayer. Rob and I exchanged arch glances: so this wasn’t quite free . . .

~ by Jared on July 11, 2008.

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