Saturday, July 31, 2010
I do a variety of searches round the net looking for obscure vampire titles and this came up in one such search. I found a couple of articles that mentioned vampires and vampiric ghosts in connection with this and one lone comment on IMDb struck me as a commentator, MisterWhiplash, headed his comment “A Bergman vampire movie, but without any vampires- pure, Gothic chills”.
I decided, therefore, to explore the film – which had the working title (as it was written) of The Cannibals.
Leonor) gave *me* (presumably Bergman or an unnamed fictional director, during the opening we can hear the sounds of a movie sound stage being worked upon until the director calls all to order and the film begins) his diary and between that and interviews with Alma the film was born. We see her emerge from a cottage on the island – she seems reluctant to talk further to the camera but eventually mentions the fact that she is now eight months pregnant and then begins to explain how she and Johan arrived there that year.
The first entry, it appears, tells of Johan, having recently been ill, being approached by Baron von Merkens (Erland Josephson) – the owner of the island – who invites him to dinner at the castle. The next entry tells of meeting his previous lover Veronica Volger (Ingrid Thulin). She tells him he must be more careful as her breast is bruised and then she reveals that she has received a letter that warns her – of what is unclear but we assume her affair with Johan. We see Johan pace towards the cottage and a man follows with laboured breaths. He identifies himself as the Therapist Heerbrand (Ulf Johansson) and he so annoys Johan that he punches the man. When he gets to the cottage he and Alma settle down to eat (she quickly hides his diary) and she mentions that she needs money. He places notes on the table but she wants to detail the household accounts – something he seems uninterested in. When he tells her they have been invited to the castle she already knows – there seems to be a non-linear aspect to the diary entries because of this.