Max von Sydow

2015/11/17 § Leave a comment

Terrence Rafferty has written a really fantastic article over at The Atlantic, covering the full and dynamic career of Max von Sydow, arguing that during “a significant portion of his six decades onscreen, he has been the greatest actor alive.” Here is a gem taken from the article:

In The Virgin Spring he’s a medieval landowner, devout and of modest means, to whom something terrible happens: His daughter, on her way to church, is raped and murdered. And he does something terrible in response: With grim determination, he kills her three attackers—one of whom is a young boy—in his own home. For most of the film, von Sydow is steely and righteous, but after he’s taken his revenge, his stern facade begins to crack, his steps become slower, heavier, until at the side of a stream he stops and his erect frame just crumples to the ground, as if it has lost all definition. This is what it looks like when a man’s will, sustained too long, drains suddenly from his soul. Bergman shoots it in a wide shot, from the back; nothing else is required. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of physical acting you’ll ever see.


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