The Virgin Spring (2006) In Ingmar Bergman's dark medieval tale, the daughter of a God-fearing farmer (Max von Sydow) is brutally raped and slaughtered, driving her father to cold…
DVD Review

The Virgin Spring (2006)

EW's GRADE
A

Details Release Date: Jan 24, 2006; DVD Release Date: Jan 24, 2006; Genre: Foreign Language; With: Max von Sydow

In Ingmar Bergman's dark medieval tale, the daughter of a God-fearing farmer (Max von Sydow) is brutally raped and slaughtered, driving her father to cold rage and merciless revenge. Shot in deceptively gorgeous black and white, this is the rare Bergman film in which the violence is as much physical as psychological: Images like the girl desperately thrashing in a tranquil woodland glen and the vengeful farmer literally smashing the life out of a young boy are as shocking and disturbing as ever. There is no release in this payback, only sorrowful atonement. EXTRAS A feature-length commentary by scholar Birgitta Steene supplies illuminating historical context, while in an audio recording an uncharacteristically cheery Bergman leads a 1975 American Film Institute seminar. The Virgin Spring costars Gunnel Lindblom and Birgitta Pettersson reminisce in recent interviews, and in his introduction Ang Lee says that seeing this film as a student inspired him to make movies that provoke people not only to ''laugh and cry'' but also to ''feel and think.''

Originally posted Feb 03, 2006 Published in issue #862-863 Feb 10, 2006 Order article reprints