Ingmar Bergman / SWE, 1969
Swedish version / Czech and English subtitles, 73 min
Ingmar Bergman's The Rite "a world event", says the Swedish press ... A masterpiece that shocks. It is about a touring variety troupe called "Les Riens", who are prosecuted and summond to an interogation because one of their numbers is considered grossly indecent. They are confronted with the judge's accusations, which are extremly vague. The judge's interrogation is harsh and relentless, it humiliates the artists, confuses them, shakes their self-confidence. Who are we? What is the meaning of our lives? In a series of taut scenes with great dramatic power and tension Bergman lets the three artists reveal themselves to the spectator's astonished gaze. In scens of passion, of blood, of darkness, which are occasionally broken by gleams of hope and consolation, the author gives a vision of what it means to be an artist and of art's sanctity and curse. In the "rite" that forms the finale of the film the judge meets death. Art has avenged itself on reason. The artists, the abused ones, have spoken. The Rite is depicted with an intimacy, a throbbing pulse in the closeups, a tension in the acting, which are unsurpassed.