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Tricia's retro film review: Torment

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Torment is the 1944 Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Jan-Erik is a young man who is having problems at school. A teacher seems to take delight in hurting him. Luckily, he meet a young woman named Bertha, who becomes his girlfriend. She confides to him that she has a tormentor. What he doesn’t know is that this mysterious man is his teacher. He then makes his lives harder. Soon Bertha decides to kill herself. Will both Jan-Erik and his teacher also share a dark fate?

This is an emotionally dark movie that manages not to be depressing. That being said, viewers who can’t handle emotionally harrowing movies should avoid this one. What makes it work is that everybody has their reasons for acting out as they do. Nobody is a cartoonish caricature, the viewer even feels sorry for the teacher. The movie is smart enough to mix some joy with the darkness. Even though the ending is bittersweet, it ends up hopeful for Jan-Erik as he gets some help. Honolulu Ingmar Bergman fans should buy this movie.

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