The second installment in Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s unofficial trilogy (Through a Glass DarklyWinter LightThe Silence) is by far the best. Pastor Tomas (Gunnar Björnstrand) has misplaced his faith. He’s not sure where, and he’s not sure he wants to find it. Märta (Ingrid Thulin) loves Tomas, but he does not reciprocate. So, she waits and bears his silence and his cruelty. Then Jonas (Max von Sydow) enters and confesses to Tomas—he lives in fear. The atomic bomb will destroy everything, obliterate existence, and erase man from the universe. What, then, is the point? Tomas has no response, and it costs him dearly. Sounds bleak, doesn’t it? It is, but the trick of Bergman is that he finds his way from god’s silence to Tomas’s despair to Molly Bloom’s heart going like mad announcing affirmations in triplicate without an ounce of comprise or concession.

Winter Light is streaming on The Criterion Channel and Kanopy. The above blurb first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly, Vol. 27, No. 38, “Home Viewing: Existential Cinema.”