Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The Swedish-language picture Torment (AKA Hets, 1944) marked one of the first credited screenwriting efforts of the then 26-year-old scenarist Ingmar Bergman, and one of the broadest international successes of the gifted Swedish director Alf Sjöberg; it also launched the onscreen efforts of two young Scandinavian actors, Alf Kjellin and Mai Zetterling. This tragic drama concerns the ill-fated romance between student Jan-Erik Widgren (Kjellin) and Bertha Olsson (Zetterling), a slightly older, alcoholic widow who works at a tobacco store, and whom Jan-Erik meets when he discovers her unconscious in the street. The premise of the film finds Jan-Erik struggling valiantly to maintain his ongoing sexual affair with Bertha, while grappling, on the side, with the machinations of a sadistic and abusive professor, Caligula (Stig Jarrel. Events take an ugly turn when Jan-Erik discovers that Bertha is actually Caligula's lover - setting the stage for tragedy on the night of her booze-soaked orgy with the old man. Ultimately, both lovers are relentlessly victimized by the professor's doings. The cast also includes: Olof Winnerstrand, Hugo Bjorne, Stig Olin, Olav Riego, Marta Arbin and Nils Dahlgren.
schoolteacher, student, torment, woman
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance