Winter Light (Bergman, 1963)
Winter Light is a very important film in the ‘faith film’ world. Bergman, who was known for somewhat critically approaching God, does much of that in this film. The film’s main theme is the silence of God and Bergman questions his existence through the main character, Thomas. While some people of faith find these question unsettling and unnecessary, I find them to be completely relevant and important. Any Christian who denies ever having times in their lives when it seemed God was silent is lying to themselves. Even Noah experienced God’s silence while floating on the ark. Winter Light gives viewers a look into the time of Tomas’ life when he is experiencing God’s silence.
The film also centers around his relationship with a local school teacher, Marta. Their relationship is somewhat dysfunctional as Tomas is still not over the loss of his wife, and Marta claims to have no belief in God (though she leans on Him quite often throughout the film). I had never even realized the importance of this relationship until seeing this for a second time. The film not only addressed God’s silence, but also His love and longing for us (as evidenced by the great penultimate scene), and the love of those who surround us. I found the film’s themes to be even more poignant upon re-watch. Unfortunately, I also found the film to be a bit more dull and not as beautifully shot as I remembered. Don’t get me wrong, the cinematography is still a strength, just maybe not up to the usually Bergman standards. 9.25/10