Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival of humiliation in Sawdust and Tinsel, one of the master’s most vivid early works and his first of many collaborations with the great cinematographer Sven Nykvist. The story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-twentieth-century circus owner (Åke Grönberg) and his younger mistress (Harriet Andersson), a horseback rider in the traveling show, the film features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power plays, making for a piercingly brilliant depiction of physical and spiritual degradation. (Criterion)


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English Even though this film by Ingmar Bergman didn't exactly captivate me, I must acknowledge that many scenes demonstrate his masterful direction. Moreover, thanks to the black and white camera, you'll further appreciate the interplay of light and shadow. The actors (both circus and theater) are portrayed here in a light that shows them as humans, yet they remain different, peculiar, dangerous, and intriguing. ()


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English An intense and ruthless study of humiliation and picture of the distortion of the character of variety artists and other cobblers. The impoverished circus performer Alfred must suffer the slights and ridicule of similarly ridiculed and humiliated actors who play the decline. The weight and intensity of the image is at the maximum and the choice of actor types is precisely tied to expressiveness. Humiliation and disgust, submissiveness, inability to anchor and remove one’s mask, no matter how vain and disgusting the role is... a very intense 93 minutes of absolutely focused film matter. There are no missteps. ()



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English I consider the bleak existential drama The Naked Night to be one of Bergman's weaker works, but that doesn't mean it's a bad film. It just didn't quite work for me. The silhouettes of the circus wagons looming on the horizon probably caught my attention the most, if I leave aside the plot. They seemed to foreshadow Bergman's masterpiece The Seventh Seal. Compared to that cinematic gem, however, I have to go lower with my rating. ()

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