Karin hopes to recover from her recent stay at a mental hospital by spending the summer at her family's cottage on a tiny island. Her husband, Martin, cares for her but is frustrated by her physical withdrawal. Her younger brother, Minus, is confused by Karin's vulnerability and his own budding sexuality. Their father, David, cannot overcome his haughty remoteness. Beset by visions, Karin descends further into madness.
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Through a Glass Darkly (Swedish: Såsom i en spegel, lit. 'As in a Mirror') is a 1961 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and starring Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow and Lars Passgård. The film tells the story of a schizophrenic young woman (Andersson) vacationing with her family on a remote island, during which time she experiences delusions about meeting God, who ultimately appears to her in the form of a monstrous spider. Meanwhile, her author father attempts to use her illness in his work, and her brother struggles with sexual frustration.
Bergman structured the film as a three-act play, drawing on his personal experiences and relationships. The film was his first of several shot on the island of Fårö, at the recommendation of cinematographer Sven Nykvist. The score incorporates the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Themes explored include the equation of God with love, exploitation in art, psychosis, and sexuality.
Through a Glass Darkly was released to positive reviews, specifically for Andersson's performance, and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was followed by Bergman's thematically related 1963 films Winter Light and The Silence.