I. Bergman: “Fängelse”- (1949)

December 12, 2010 at 11:07 am (Random thoughts)

If there were a hell, what would it look like? Would it have monsters prone to hurt everyone standing in their way? Would it be founded on competition and segregation? Would there be an invisible fire fed by loneliness and godlessness, to burn our guilty conscience? Would people waste their energy in the pursuit of something over which they have no control? Would they deliberately mine for petrol through the pitch? Would it look like the world that we live in, as the Maths professor was suggesting in the beginning of the film? A world governed by greed, violence and lack of probity: Brigitta Carolina “works” as a prostitute, even though we can figure out that she’s far more intelligent than the normal requirements for this job. Then why is she doing that? The answer : she’s persuaded to do that by her own fiancé, a man for whom the purpose justifies the means to such an extent that he’s capable of participating in the killing of his own new born child because he sees in this child a menace for his financial situation. (The only income of this ‘family’ was ensured by Brigitta Carolina’s job). And as if this weren’t enough, the person committing this murder is actually Brigitta’s sister; she compares the act of killing a newborn to that of drowning a kitten. Moreover, Brigitta Carolina eventually gives her consent for this murder.  What can possibly be worse than that?

Do you think that Brigitta Carolina is a martyr? Some might be inclined to believe that she is enduring those cruelties in the name of love but she’s actually wandering hopelessly, crumbled and wept away, knowing that this world has nothing left to offer her. This explains her choice to return to her old life and home (her ex-fiancé and the woman who killed her baby), although she loved Thomas and the feeling was mutual. Can a martyr be a martyr without hoping?

The film is not a cliffhanger; in fact it has a predictable end: Brigitta Carolina’s spiritual cancer finally kills her, in the climax of the atonement for her sins.

One last point: what would Freud or Jung say about Brigitta Carolina’s dream? 😉


To the memory of Brigitta Carolina:


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We can be aliens

December 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm (Random thoughts)

Well not proper aliens, but more like the alleged alien from K-Pax. At first I thought that Prot was a schizophrenic, but actually he was nothing more than a person with a higher level of enlightenment of the spirit than the average. It’s funny how sometimes the two come to be confounded, isn’t it?

Coming back to the term ‘alien’, in my opinion, its meaning was restricted in this film to a superior state of the spirit that is able to cure and to change things for the better. In other words, when your mind would be strong enough to identify the problem and to realise that it can also solve it, then you’ll figure out that a doctor, however good he may be, cannot do the job better than yourself.  “All beings have the capacity to cure themselves.” But we kind of seem to have forgotten it and prefer to put our blind trust into a person whose only advantage is to have read a bunch of theory and performed some exercise to see how it works in practice; a person called ‘doctor’. See, what people don’t understand is that a doctor does not cure you; he only shows you how to cure yourself.

Another interesting idea in this film is the questioning of some principles that we take for granted. An example of the kind would be the so-called policy ‘an eye for an eye’, which happens to be the principle on which our society was founded and which according to Prot ‘is known throughout the universe for its stupidity.’ This makes anarchy, which is in fact a pretty nice regime, unsuitable for the human community because people are still scared of the absence of laws, instead of that stupid duo – reward & punishment – that unfortunately has deep roots in their minds.

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