Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Never available on DVD, Bergman’s rarely-screened film investigates the underlying emotional and psychological causes that lead an ordinary German business executive to murder a prostitute. After confessing to the crime, impeccably middle-class Peter (Robert Atzorn) is held in custody, while the police question those closest to him—his wife (who shares her name with Peter’s victim), his psychoanalyst, his mother, his wife’s gay fashion business partner—each of whom attempt to account for Peter's actions while revealing their own hidden emotional agendas and blind spots, which inadvertently combine to make the tragedy inevitable. Stylistically cold and stark, its narrative articulated in a non-linear fashion that shifts back and forth in time, and clinical in its detachment, this is one of Bergman’s bleakest visions of emotional disconnect and the emptiness of modern European life—but it’s never less than mesmerizing. Print Courtesy of The Swedish Film Archive. Never available on DVD in the U.S.