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The appearance of a movie in this review journal does not mean that the movie is endorsed by Kim.  He writes reviews of movies that he saw that he recommends people avoid as well as movies that he considers worth seeing.  Aside from just critical approval regarding the film, some movies may not be suitable for you or your family.  You must make that kind of determination on your own, and stay true to your own convictions on what is appropriate to see.  Some movies are well made, but have offensive or difficult subject matter that is questionable to many viewers. Again, the reviews listed here should not be your only filter for whether or not a film is appropriate for you and and your family.

Additionally, Kim has his own view on what movies are and why he thinks they are a worthwhile aspect of current culture to be investigated.  You certainly don't have to agree with Kim on his viewpoints of movies, and he would be surprised if you did.

Kim's thoughts on movies -

Movies are the modern art "experience" of our culture. They are transmitted in many forms, on screens in theatres, DVDs, television and even computers. They are the merge of classical theatrical acting and modern day technical set and experience creation (effects). The reason I enjoy and watch lots of movies is that they not only entertain, they communicate the nuances of our society. Of course, some have nothing to do with culture, its just greedy corporations trying to produce profits. I am a guy, and as such am not the ideal audience for romantic comedies or 'chick fliks'. However I am also a husband, and domestic bliss (as well as common sense) compels me to at least review them...occasionally.  For the most part, you will find I like (and therefor review a lot of ) action, drama, science fiction, suspense and similarly themed movies.

The Virgin Spring (1960)

Iconic filmaking. Beautiful tragedy.

Overall Grade: A
Story: A
Acting: A
Direction: A
Visuals: A


Summary: An innocent girl is cut down in the prime of her life. The family is left, by fate, to face the evil-doers who perpetrated her demise. Now legendary director Ingmar Bergman creates a screen version of a Swedish tale of tragedy and remorse amidst a deeply religious backdrop.

Full Review: "The Virgin Spring" is one of the classic movies revered by cinephiles and lauded by later directors as a seminal work that helped to send film into new directions.  The topics it tackles and the way in which it tackles them shakes off a lot of societal baggage that allowed movies to begin to ask deep questions, especially related to taboo questions of religion, God, suffering and mortality.  The story is so terse, it's plot is deceptively powerful. There are no detours, no hidden meanings, no multiple plot lines- just one straight narrative that leads the viewer into the private hell of a father and mother and to a crux of expression in their grief.

The movie is in Swedish, and thus (for me, at least) was subtitled in English. But like the 1997 Italian movie "Life Is Beautiful", the script is so matched to the visuals, the faces of the actors and the situations you can almost anticipate the words of the dialog from the context of the emotion displayed. I enjoyed the film because, not only did the dialog remain compact and powerful, but the long pauses of silence pressed into the viewer the kind of mundane world of the story. The scene is medieval Sweden and the characters are the various members of a farming chieftan who's virgin daughter is sent on a day journey to deliver candles to the nearby church parish. An adopted pagan girl (who prays to the Norse god Odin) and the naive Christian princess daughter of the local regent are paired (and thus juxtaposed) in the seemingly simple journey to deliver the candles.

From the tragedy that ensues, the parents later are faced with the terrible news of their daughters death by the very people who committed the crime (who don't know they are revealing this news to the parents of the abducted girl). The plot that follows delivers the emotions of hot and cold power of rage and remorse, leading to a final climatic encounter of not man to man, but man to God. The set up to this story is simple and straight, and the climax is all the more poignant because of it.

Because of the nature of the story, some images of violence are disturbing in the film, although certainly not as graphic as films have become in the last 20 years, its intention and deliver seems more realistic and even horrific.  For parents, in my opinion, this movie should be reserved for children that are 13 and over. There is a brief scene of rape, and death, and while neither show any nudity or gore, both are disturbingly heartbreaking. Since this film was introduced before ratings (and was foreign, in any case- which are also not regulated by the MPAA) the movie as no MPAA rating. 

I won't go into the dozens of technical reasons this film was a forerunner to more modern film tragedies, or lighting and perspective techniques- but again, the cinephiles will already have heard of this. If you like great film-making, and thoughtful, provocative narratives, this film is one of the all-time greats.


Amazon DVD Link:


Review by Kim Gentes

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