ISSUE DATE: Mar. 14, 1960
A demon is haunting the movie world. It looks, as many have remarked, like a brilliantly personable werewolf. The figure is tall, bony and shambling. The green eyes burn with strange intensity in a high, narrow skull. The teeth are long and peculiarly pointed. The smile is a little twisted, evoking for the nightmare-prone the grimace of a hanged man. The demon is in effect an immensely creative spirit which has seized for its habitation the son of a Swedish parson, and for its instrument the motion-picture camera.
In 16 years of labor this spirit has driven Sweden’s Ernst Ingmar Bergman to produce an enormous canon of cinema, comprising 22 feature films and at least four other scripts, that merges into a single vast and violent masterpiece, a work of volcanic profundity and sometimes tumid pretentiousness, of snorting pornography, sly comedy and ripe ironic wisdom—a sort of serial Faust.
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