by Douglas Messerli
Ingmar Bergman (writer and director) Tystnaden (The Silence) / 1963, USA 1964
I don’t know why I had never seen Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence before the other day, since I saw most of his films as a young college student. I do know that the year it appeared in the US, I was living in Norway, next door to Bergman’s Sweden, and only attended movies at the isolated city in which I lived once or twice. In any event, I have long been a Bergman fan, and this excellent film from 1963 even further revealed his talents.
For despite her illness, Ester is clearly the stronger and lives in a much odder world (of drugs, sex, and language) than her nearly silent—if sexually outgoing—sister. Unlike Anna, the translator sister reaches out to discover various words from the porter, the beginnings of communication in this very strange city, Timoka, on the brink of war.