Winter Light (Swedish: Nattvardsgästerna, literally “The Communicants”) is a 1962 Swedish drama film written and directed byIngmar Bergman and starring Bergman regulars Gunnar Björnstrand, Ingrid Thulin and Max von Sydow. The film follows Tomas Ericsson (Björnstrand), pastor of a small rural Swedish church, as he deals with existential crisis and his Christianity.
Following Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light reunites Gunnar Björnstrand, this time playing a pastor suffering a crisis of faith while ministering to a shrinking congregation, and Max Von Sydow as a parishioner lost to acute anxiety over the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. Neither man can help or heal the other, or even inspire renewed confidence in practiced rituals and older, more certain views of the world. Set on a chilly, Sunday afternoon, Winter Light‘s heavy stillness, lack of music, preference for intense close-ups and distancing long shots, and barren setting all lead us inescapably into the core of a profound silence, an echo chamber in which love can’t grow and religion rings hollow. The trilogy concludes with The Silence.