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The Virgin Spring (Criterion Collection)

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson, Axel Düberg
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ulla Isaksson
  • Producers: Ingmar Bergman, Allan Ekelund
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: German, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Jan. 31 2006
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000BR6QIW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,989 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Winner of the 1961 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden. Starring Bergman stalwart and screen icon Max von Sydow, the film is both beautiful and cruel in its depiction of a world teetering between the sacred and the profane and one father's longing to avenge the murder of a child.


Made in 1960 and set in medieval Sweden, Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring is based on a folk ballad. It also examines a society in transition from Norse pantheism to Christianity. The film starkly contrasts Ingeri--a dark, feral, Odin-worshipping foster daughter to a Christian family headed by Max Von Sydow--and their own daughter, a pretty and blond but also vain and naïve girl named Karin, whom Ingeri resents. They travel out together to a distant church where Karin is to offer votive candles to the Virgin Mary. However, en route, Karin is raped and murdered by two desperate goatherds, accompanied by a 13-year-old boy. By coincidence, the goatherds then seek refuge with Karin's parents and even try to sell them her clothes, which proves to be a mortal error.

Bergman was greatly influenced by Akira Kurosawa when he made The Virgin Spring, as evinced in its ominous use of dark and shade and lengthy sequences without dialogue. However, this is more than pastiche. Although the Christian ending with which Bergman feels obliged to conclude the film doesn't quite sit well in a movie in which God is as palpably absent as in any Bergman movie, the slow, remorseless pace of the murder and subsequent retribution bring to mind Krzysztof Kieslowski's A Short Film About Killing in their sense of the futility of vengeance. --David Stubbs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
My favorite of the pre 1960 Bergman films, this has (once again)
amazing photography by Sven Nykvest. It also boasts one of Max Von
Sydow's most powerful performances - which is saying a lot.

Set in a medieval world like 'The Seventh Seal', but here the questions
of guilt, god, right and wrong are simpler and less symbolic, and to me
ring truer and more emotional.

Not that the film doesn't have it's fair share of symbolism. This is
still Bergman. But those symbolic gestures feel more a part of a larger
story. instead of the point.

Some of the supporting performances aren't quite up to Von Sydow's and
a couple of key moments felt a bit contrived, but this is a very tense,
intense, disturbing and emotional look at one family from another time
dealing with issues that are still all too familiar. Indeed there's
almost a feeling of horror film about it at moments, and it is,
amazingly, sighted as the uncredited basis for Wes Craven's 'The Last
House on the Left'!
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Format: DVD
Deservedly one of the of the most famous of all films, Ingmar Bergmann's bleak and tragic tale of rape, murder and revenge, based on a medieval folk ballad, is shocking, riveting, and unforgettable. A serious, heavy film, but one everyone should see. Unrated in the US, but definitely not for children: though the violence is not clinically graphic, it's presented so effectively that it's more shocking than the explicit violence you see in many later films. In black and white, which in this case actually makes the film more effective. The Criterion DVD transfer is as usual excellent.
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Format: VHS Tape
Most Bergman novitiates will probably start with "The Seventh Seal," but "The Virgin Spring" is one of his most easily approachable films and a good intro for those unfamiliar with Bergman's ouevre. The film has more plot than later Bergman works, which makes it accesible for American audiences (indeed it won the Academy Award for Best foreign film). The story concerns the rape and murder of a young girl on her way to church, and the revenge exacted on her killers by the girl's family. Bergman took the idea from a Swedish folk ballad and transformed it into a dark medieval tale of murder, vengeance, religion, and finally, redemption and forgiveness. The film contains many items which are hallmarks of the Bergman style (overt use of symbolism, the questions of faith and the existence of God) as well as marking the early work of the incredible Sven Nykvist, Bergman's chief cinematographer. The scenes of violence are contrasted with scenes of tranquil beauty (Karin riding through the forest, the final tableau). Many critics regard this as a minor work in the Bergman canon. While that may be, it remains a dark, beautiful entry in a challenging body of work. It may be minor, but it's still Bergman.
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Format: VHS Tape
Great photography!
Great Acting!
Great Story!
You will find yourself lost in this story about a father's revenge. The actors never let you think for a minute that you are not watching an actual film of medieval times.
There are a couple of very violent and disturbing scenes that are necessary for the story. All the lead actors are great. I especially liked the performance of the pregnant brunet girl who is jealous of Karin.
The filming makes you feel as if you are recalling a long forgotten memory or dream. Don't pass up the chance to see this film.
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