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Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 13: Winter Light
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • Swedish PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Exploring the film: Video discussion with Ingmar Bergman biographer Peter Cowie
  • Introduction by Ingmar Bergman
  • Documentary on making the film: Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie
  • Original theatrical trailer

Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 13: Winter Light

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
1963 | 81 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $299.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: November 20, 2018
Review Date: October 10, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

In honor of Ingmar Bergman’s one hundredth birthday, the Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive collection of his films ever released on home video. One of the most revelatory voices to emerge from the postwar explosion of international art-house cinema, Bergman was a master storyteller who startled the world with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical and spiritual questions. The struggles of faith and morality, the nature of dreams, and the agonies and ecstasies of human relationships—Bergman explored these subjects in films ranging from comedies whose lightness and complexity belie their brooding hearts to groundbreaking formal experiments and excruciatingly intimate explorations of family life.

Arranged as a film festival with opening and closing nights bookending double features and centerpieces, this selection spans six decades and thirty-nine films—including such celebrated classics as The Seventh Seal, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander alongside previously unavailable works like Dreams, The Rite, and Brink of Life. Accompanied by a 248-page book with essays on each program, as well as by more than thirty hours of supplemental features, Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema traces themes and images across Bergman’s career, blazing trails through the master’s unequaled body of work for longtime fans and newcomers alike.


PICTURE

The 13th dual-layer disc found in Criterion’s Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema box set presets the second part of the filmmaker’s trilogy, Winter Light, in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The film has been restored in 2K resolution, scanned from the 35mm original camera negative, and has been encoded at 1080p/24hz.

Criterion released the trilogy in a Blu-ray box set earlier this year and the disc for Winter Light found in that set appears to be the same disc found here, just a different menu, meaning it’s using the same master. Since the presentations look the same I will reprint from that review:

[Though] the original DVD from 2003 certainly didn’t (and still doesn’t) look bad, limited a bit by source condition and the standard-definition format itself, the improvements found here over that edition are significant, with the biggest improvement being the crispness of the image and the level of detail to be found in it. It’s now to a point where you can even make out pores on the faces of the actors, even in long shots, and contrast has also been leveled out a bit where you can now more clearly make out details in the darker areas of the screen, like the central character’s robe. The image is incredibly sharp, also rendering the film’s very fine grain perfectly; it’s very fine and admittedly barely registers with the viewer, outside a handful of shots, but it’s there and looks natural.

The film has also been further restored, blemishes found in the old presentation appearing to be gone, and the fluctuations that appeared in that old presentation have been leveled out and the film runs smooth and clean.

It’s probably the nicest looking presentation in the trilogy.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Copied from the review for the disc found in the Ingmar Bergman Film Trilogy box set:

Criterion includes the film’s original Swedish soundtrack, delivered in lossless PCM 1.0 mono, and an alternate English-dubbed soundtrack, delivered in Dolby Digital 1.0 mono. The Swedish soundtrack does offer a notable improvement over the DVD’s presentation, sounding a bit sharper with more depth and range, managing to hide its age well. It’s a quiet film, of course, so it never really pushes the envelope, but it’s fine for what it is.

The English-dub sounds exactly the same as what was used on the DVD, and I have no doubt it’s a direct port. Though English dialogue is clear enough the track is tinny and harsh, with more prominent background noise.

The Swedish one is obviously the one to go with.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion does port everything over from the original DVD release of the film, even adding the making-of documentary found on another disc in the DVD set:

Criterion [includes] the 5-episode, 146-minute television documentary on the making of Winter Light, Vilgot Sjöman’s Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie on this disc, which was originally featured on its own on the fourth disc of the DVD set [...] As a making-of documentary it never really rises above others of its type but getting such an intimate portrait of Bergman and how he goes about developing a film is still priceless. Each of the five parts cover a specific aspect of the production (with the last part being a straight interview between Bergman and Sjöman about the release and experience), we get to see development and pre-production before moving onto the actual filming, watching Bergman work with his actors (though Sjöman admits in an essay included with the DVD but not in this set that these were staged by Bergman specifically for the documentary). The best portion, though, covers post-production, where Bergman talks about how he constructs his films and the editing process. Again, I didn’t find it to be constructed in a particularly original, or even interesting way, but I enjoyed watching Bergman work and listening to him go through his process in an almost step-by-step manner.

The documentary has been broken up into five chapters, one for each part, dropping the individual chapters found on the DVD within each episode. The same master used for the DVD has also been used here, so it’s basically a video presentation and it still looks rough.

The aforementioned introduction with Bergman features the director explaining why Winter Light is his favourite film (there was a quote found in an insert of the old DVD set that went over this) and then the remaining features have been ported over from the DVD. The same 10-minute interview with scholar Peter Cowie, a regular on Criterion’s Bergman releases, is presented yet again. Cowie talks about how Bergman drastically changed his style with this film, which he admits threw him off initially, finding the film to be “not as technically impressive.” He realized, though, that Bergman was going for something that felt more real. He also talks about the film’s theme on “crisis of faith” and despite the film obviously being centered around Christianity Bergman still manages to make the film universal. I first saw this film when I was just really going through Bergman’s films and Cowie’s comments here on Bergman’s own personal issues with religion and faith helped me understand the director and these films a bit more (other features and documentaries I came across later would expand on all of this, though). Good for newcomers to the films.

The disc then closes with the Janus theatrical trailer.

The set’s included 247-page book also features the same essay by Catherine Wheatley, covering the trilogy.

6/10

CLOSING

Another strong presentation in the set and probably the strongest looking of the trilogy.




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Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca