Amer (2009) – Faceless Wordless Passion

In 1963, the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman concluded what has become known as the Trilogy of Faith.  Prior to this trilogy, many of Bergman’s films tended to revolve around questions of religion and faith as their characters struggled to find meaning in the meaningless void of life.  Paradoxically, the Trilogy of Faith marked a departure in Bergman’s filmmaking as it displayed an interest not in God but in people. In Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and Winter Light (1962), Bergman explored the roots of religious faith and how that faith might be lost.  In The Silence (1963), Bergman examined a world characterised only by absence; absence of God, absence of faith and absence of speech.  As Bergman himself put it:

“These three films deal with reduction. Through a Glass Darkly – conquered certainty. Winter Light – penetrated certainty. The Silence – God’s silence – the negative imprint. Therefore, they constitute a trilogy.”

What Bergman found when he stripped away God and faith was a world of passion and turmoil, a world in which nobody speaks but everyone yearns.  The Silence is a remarkable film in that it manages to be both intensely psychological and almost entirely free of dialogue. Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s Amer marks a return to Bergman’s silent realm of desire, passion, alienation and horror.

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