Ingmar Bergman

Sog., Scen.: Ingmar Bergman. F.: Sven Nykvist. M.: (Siv Kanälv (Siv Lundgren). Int.: Ingrid Thulin (Thea), Anders Ek (Sebastian Fischer), Gunnar Björnstrand (Hans Winkelmann), Erik Hell (giudice Ernst Abrahamsson), Ingmar Bergman (sacerdote). Prod.: Lars-Owe Carlberg per Cinematograph AB. DCP. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The disproportion between how little known Riten is, and how important the film is to a full understanding of Ingmar Bergman’s oeuvre, is rather stunning.
It is however, not surprising: Riten was made for Swedish television, and even for that medium it was a modest production. As Bergman described it in the interview book Bergman on Bergman: “There’s always such a lot of pretentiousness surrounding films. Such a lot of apparatus. Shooting takes 45 days, 50 days, 65 days. For Fellini it takes 28 weeks and there’s a hell of a hullaballoo and cost God knows how much. So I thought: ‘Hell, I’ll gather four of my close friends and we’ll rehearse for four weeks and then we’ll shoot it.’ I figured out I’d be able to shoot it in nine days.”
For these reasons, Riten has flown under the radar even of many Bergman fans. However, it remains a crucial work in the filmography and should (and I think will) be considered one of his finest achievements. Many key Bergman themes are present: for example the dual role of the artist as both humiliated and cannibalistic. Not least Riten, like more canonised Bergman works such as Winter Light and Persona, demonstrates the ambivalence of the human condition, where power relations shift, where oppressor and victim change places.
Though shot for the small screen, Riten is eminently watchable in the cinema as well (after all, Fanny and Alexander was also made for TV). In all its austere mise-en-scène, and with its limited use of more lavish cinematic devices, the film still looks great on the big screen.

Jan Holmberg


Copy From

Courtesy of SF Studios. Restored by Svenska Filminstitutet, from the original negative and the final mix sound preserved at SF Studios