Brink Of Life

111. BRINK Of LIFE (1957-SWEDEN). WITH eva dahlbeck, ingrid thulin, bibi andersson, max VON SYDOW, ERLAND IOSEPHSON. Directed by INGMAR BERGMAN. The distinctive cinematic artistry Of Ingmar Bergman creates an incisive, emotionally overpowering study Of three women facing the joys, pains and tragedies Of childbirth. A remarkably intense drama, it takes place within a 24-hour period, and is set entirely in a maternity ward. The sense Of confinement is heightened by Bergman’s skillful use Of extreme close-ups and long takes, throwing into sharp relief the expressive faces Of his protagonists in their crucial moÂments Of hope, confusion and despair. The first woman has a miscarriage, and when she realizes that this had largely psychological causesÑher husband didn’t want the baby and she was afraid to displease himÑshe forces herself to reevaluate her marriage. The second woman is extremely enthusiastic about having her first child, but the baby dies (in a harrowing childbirth scene), making her despondent and inconsolable. The third woman, ashamed because she is unwed and bitter because the baby’s father has no interest in her, wants an abortion. But her close contact with the other women’s noble suffering inspires her to have the babyÑan afÂfirmation Of life in the midst Of death. Winner Of the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival, this work has been widely acclaimed for its superb performances. Noted critic Peter Cowie, in his book on the director, calls it “one Of the most satisfying Of Bergman’s works. As a piece Of craftsmanship it stands at a very high level.” In Swedish with English subtitles. 82 minutes. Drama