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The Rite (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on January 8, 2010

Even more impenetrable than Persona.  Individual scenes work on their own, for the most part.  The interrogation scenes are especially strong, with all those Kafkaesque power plays and sudden emotional outbursts and twisted bureaucracy.  But the film as a whole doesn’t hang together, and after a second viewing I still have no idea what Bergman is getting at beyond exorcising a few random personal demons.  It’s a hodge-podge of themes: censorship, acting and artistry, emotional breakdown, sexual politics, marital issues… and a cult ritual with giant dildos (it’s amazing what you can get away with on Swedish television).  It gets really ridiculous and hysterical at times but has a host of strong moments, and some powerful performances.  I kind of feel like I’m rating this too high, and if it wasn’t so short I’d probably be harsher on it, but it’s such an odd curiosity that I find it compelling.  Rating: 7


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