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The Devil's Eye

(Djävulens öga)
Sweden 1960. Dir: Ingmar Bergman. 87 min. DCP

“A woman's chastity is a sty in the Devil’s eye.” So goes the “old Irish proverb” (invented, apparently, by Bergman) that serves as premise for The Devil’s Eye, an ironic, stylized, self-consciously theatrical comic fantasy. The film — Bergman’s follow-up to The Virgin Spring — opens in Hell, where Satan decides to send legendary seducer Don Juan (Jarl Kulle) to modern-day Sweden to deflower a country parson’s virtuous daughter (Bibi Andersson). Gunnar Björnstrand serves as our master of ceremonies, introducing the film’s various episodes. The picture was master cinematographer Gunnar Fischer’s twelfth and final film for Bergman. The Scarlatti sonatas on the soundtrack are played by Käbi Laretei, Bergman’s fourth wife. “Although the film belongs to Bergman’s lighter works, his favourite serious subjects, God, the Devil, and sex, play dominating roles. Fischer’s photography is tops ... The acting is superb” (Variety).