review for Winter Light on AllMovie

Winter Light (1962)
by Lucia Bozzola review

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.