February 17, 2018


Desperately Seeking God (Emina Melonic, 2/17/18, Splice)

Although question of God is implicitly present in most of his films, it is in his trilogy, which is composed of Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), and Silence (also 1963), that Bergman explores the presence and absence of God in our lives. Here we'll look at the first film in that trilogy, Through a Glass Darkly. [...]

Morality is not part of this strange family, and even Martin, who sees the inevitability of the coming chaos, is more medically and psychological oriented than existentially and theologically. And yet, without ever telling us, Bergman shows the great themes of Christian faith.

Despite the fact that Karin's suffering from a medically categorized illness, her madness is relatable. This is why the film functions on two levels: psychologically (dealing with family relations) and theologically (dealing with an individual's relation to God). Karin may see God as an ugly and frightening spider who's trying to penetrate her, but even this bizarre experience with faith reveals a mystical quality about Karin's desire to know God and to unite with him.

David, Martin, and Minus are not mad in the clinical sense but each one of them has a distant and remote relationship with God. They're desperately seeking to communicate with each other but the entirety of their being is stuck in an in-between state unable to make concrete decisions, especially the ones about the possibility of knowing God. What binds them together, paradoxically and hopelessly, is Karin's madness.

And yet, as the three men try to relate to Karin and her chaotic consciousness, they're moving toward God. Their only connection to God the Father is Karin, who's the conduit or a spiritual vessel. But since Karin's visions are unreliable, their knowledge of God will not only be limiting but also devoid of meaning. They do know, however, that part of the human condition is the journeying from one reality to the next, and at some point, we have to make a choice which reality we wish to be part of. 

The single great theme of Western (mostly Anglospheric) theology, art and philosophy is simply that: "we have to make a choice which reality we wish to be part of." We choose Christianity because it is the beautiful reality.

Posted by at February 17, 2018 8:46 AM