The Silence (1963)

Movie Blurb

The silence poster

Catching up on my Bergman. I’ve seen The Silence before, back in the 70s, when I first became acquainted with Bergman and he quickly became my favorite auteur. One benefits from the passage of time and the experience one gains from it. I watched The Silence again with new eyes and a new found appreciation. The Silence is a movie of visuals. Bergman strove to find a vocabulary of moving pictures with few words. There were 38 exchanges of dialogue in the film. He would have been happier with 28.

The characters are traveling by train home to Sweden and have to stop off in a strange city where they don’t speak the language making verbal communication impossible with the locals.

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Anna and Ester are sisters who are emotionally isolated from one another. Ester is ill and may be dying and she is the reason for the interruption of their journey. Anna represents the carnality of the pair and Ester is the intellectual component. Anna’s son, Johan, is along for the ride and keeps getting rejected and shunted aside as he first explores the corridors of the train then the empty hallways of the hotel.

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The Silence, was the final installment of his film trilogy, The Silence of God, which included, Through Glass Darkly and Winter Light. The word “silence” in the title of this film refers not only to the silence of God but also to the silence of the characters which represents a total breakdown in communication between human beings.

the silence

When the film first came out in 1963 it was considered pornographic in some quarters. There are a couple of explicit scenes in the movie which are rather tame by today’s standards. During that time period however, Bergman, like always, was pushing the envelope.

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Pretty bleak stuff, but Bergman at his best.

Media is the Enemy

 Really?

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Donald Trump recently tweeted the above loathsome comment in his ongoing battle with the press. White nationalist, chief strategist, and senior presidential adviser, Steve Bannon, has said the press is the opposition party. Senator John McCain has described these words as the words of a dictator.

Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the sudden degradation of our liberty under the tyranny of would be dictator Donald Trump. With freedom of the press we cannot be sure of moving towards justice but without it we can be sure we are not going there.  Justice is done when the rights of the people are recognized and there is no right without freedom of expression.

We must be vigilant regarding this principle of freedom of the press which is enshrined in our constitution and is the first right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Whoever does violence to the truth or to its expression eventually mutilates justice. Censorship and oppression prove that the word is enough to make tyrants tremble. Every lowly person, when he rises up from oppression, reaffirms by so acting the solidarity of all men. Only he who is uncompromising as to his rights maintains this sense of duty. The great citizens of a country are not those who genuflect before authority, but rather those who rise up against authority, if need be, and are adamant to the honor and freedom of our great country.

You see the protest in the streets. What is beginning is a period of indomitable men and women devoted to the unconditional defense of liberty. Those who, like me, have broken with friends and family by the rejection of any complicity with parties, whether on the right or left, that justify the suppression of a single one of our liberties.