The Silence Review

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Better received than the previous two films in Bergman's faith trilogy although considered by some so shocking that the filmmaker received hate mail, The Silence ("God's silence") is bleak, heavy with symbolism and derives much of its strength from the fine performances of Thulin and Lindblom.

Sisters journeying back home, they stop at a dark hotel because Ester (Thulin), a lesbian writer evidently incestuously bound to her sister, is exhausted and sick. The blither Anna (Lindblom) goes on the search for some sex while her ten-year-old son finds his own amusement with a travelling dwarf troupe. Lonely, desperate and afraid of death, Ester draws Anna into confrontations about the past, their sexuality, their love-hate and her self-disgust, trapped in her hotel room with ghosts and memories.

The scenes with a sexual content that then provoked outrage now seem discreet, but retain their eroticism. Very much of its time in its nihilism, passionate bitterness and dark, intricate, claustrophobic style, it is both mystifying and upsetting, but suggests that there may be a future and some hope after all.