Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Virgin Spring

God vs. Odin

Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom) ignites the fire and brings it into fruition with her breath — just as she'll do by 'wishing' Karin's (Birgitta Pettersson's) death later on. 

"Odin, come! Odin, come!" Ingeri pleads to the sky; moments later she chastises the mother for Karin's not waking up to attend mass. Ingeri is feral, savage, a "wildcat."

Jungfrukällan [The Virgin Spring, 1960] could be a western — the medieval is Bergman's Wild West. It's a film about morality, about the conflict of justice and cold-blooded vengeance as acted upon a wandering group of bandits. Does the rape of Karin justify the brutality, bringing it to its apex, or is it a reactive, contagious disease of the blood? Töre (Max von Sydow): "God forgive me for what I've done." Sin and culpability, justice and vengeance — God and Odin — the two entities in combination provide the gift of the spring in the stunning climactic shot, one of the great artificial miracles set to film. When Töre proclaims his oath — "I shall build you a church" — he promises, whether or not he is immediately aware, a Church of the World, where paganism and Christianity coexist in elemental terms.

The film concludes with Ingeri running her hands through the virgin spring. Begins with fire, ends with water.


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