The second film in his trilogy on faith, Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light (1962) is an austere chamber piece that encapsulates a pastor's theological crisis within one Sunday afternoon. Suffering from an emotional shut-down and a spiritual void, the priest's ability to hear only "God's silence" permeates the film, beginning with the opening recitation of the Lord's Prayer superimposed over shots of the parish's desolate, snow-covered houses. Featuring no music, few sets, a small cast, and stark black-and-white photography by Sven Nykvist, Bergman's spare style is an intense complement to the central dilemma; whether they are shown in close-ups or in long shots dwarfed by their surroundings, the characters exist in a literal isolation that has no solution or outlet. A harsh, powerful study of religious and personal alienation, Winter Light is a testament to Bergman's formidable artistic control -- and not a film for those seeking escapist entertainment.
by Lucia Bozzola review