Formal yet timeless, an innocent, spoiled teenage girl sets out with her pregnant servant to deliver candles to church. But only one returns to the remote homestead.
In 14th-century Sweden, the indulged Karin (Birgitta Pettersson – Pojken i trädet, Salka Valka) insists on wearing her best finery to travel the 5 kms to the village. Accompanied by the jealous Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom – The Seventh Seal, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), they meet three goatherds who rape and kill Karin. The three men continue on their way where, by chance, they find themselves at the girl’s home and the guests of her father, Töre (Max von Sydow – Pelle the Conqueror, The Seventh Seal). On discovering what happened, he plans a terrible revenge.
Influenced by Kurosawa’s Rashomon, Ingmar Bergman’s (Wild Strawberries, Face To Face) classic interweaves morality and faith, humanity and atonement in this compelling if dour drama moodily shot in black and white.
Nominated for 2 Oscars in 1961 including best costume, won 1 for best foreign language film.