This is where David Lynch takes off. It is still proper Brgman in… MoreThis is where David Lynch takes off. It is still proper Brgman in aesthetic terms and thematically - the tortured artist and his relation to high society, juxtaposition of his simple but good-natured wife with his own complicated mind, people in isolation, childhood trauma etc. There is nowhere the sublimation of kitsch that we find in Lynch later; here everything is austere and precise and each shot is masterfully minimalistic in that it conveys the absolute essentials. Sven Nykvist's cinematography helps here alot as in most other Bergman films. The similarities with Lynch have to do mostly with the fragmented narrative and the way fantasy and reality mix together. The preformances are magnificent and the actors all manage to bring the eeriness of being manifestations of the artist's subconscious. The surreal montage sequence in the end, when the Max von Sydov character loses his mind completely and goes into his twisted world is particularly notable for its effectiveness of simple visual tricks. Wonderful!