Winter Light (Nattvardsgästernal) made in 1963 is the second film in Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Silence of God’ trilogy. The film discusses similar themes of: faith, certainty and reduction to the trilogy’s other films: Through a Glass Darkly, and The Silence.
As with Through a Glass Darkly, it’s impossible to discuss Winter Light without cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Above he lights Gunnar Björnstrand‘s Pastor Tomas’s sudden acceptance of his loss of faith. Pastor Tomas is having a conversation with Sven Nykvist’s lighting.
It’s difficult to get more cruel than ‘I’m tired of your loving care’. Tomas is obsessed with his loss of faith but is blind to his loss of feeling. Here he refutes his partner, Ingrid Thulin‘s Märta’s hopes for a more emotionally substantial relationship.
This scene is even more notable being Ingmar Bergman’s confession of how he treated his second wife Ellen Lundström, to the granular level of his distaste of her skin eczema—her physical condition, her rashes. Film maker asking redemption from a larger audience than his film character.
The trilogy’s first film, Through a Glass Darkly’s spider God returns. Before it traumatised Karin, now it’s mocking Tomas. Max von Sydow‘s Jonas comes to Tomas to help ally his own concerns with losing his faith, but instead Tomas cares only to help himself with his own concerns with losing his faith. This drives Jonas to suicide minutes later, we believe running from, not in search of, his former God.
The film ends with the juxtaposition of Märta and Tomas’s hopes, Märta wants a relationship to believe in, Tomas wants his faith but can only preach to an empty church and a silent God.
Reference: Winter Light – Wikipedia