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In his sixty year career Ingmar Bergman has given the world some acutely personal and deeply psychological masterpieces. In this series of freshly buffed and rarely seen early works we are treated to four significant rarities and witness the master of dark passions and broken emotions in an early stage of development. Here Bergman begins his ruminations on the cause and effect in oppressive and destructive relationships.

First up, Torment (pictured) is Bergman’s 1944 screenwriting debut, and although it is directed by fellow Swede Alf Sjoberg (who directed the still seminal 1951 screen version of Strindberg’s Miss Julie) it offers up the kind of subject matter later parodied as Bergman-esque. The torment in question belongs to a woman of ill repute, loved by a young student who in turn is being abused by his sadistic teacher, the insecurities governing their cruelty to each other is observed with typical candour. The weakest film

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HELL DRIVERS (15) 106mm .0.

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in this collection Port of Call, a verite melodrama still serves as testament to the fact that even at an early stage in his directorial career with a poorer script, Bergman could draw out quite magnificent performances from his cast.

No surprises that there is a darkness to Bergman's comedic turn in A Lesson in Love, a nevertheless lighthearted examination of fidelity and marriage. Again flawless performances and unrivalled screen chemistry are charming in a narrative that toys with the audience (and features what must surely be one of the greatest fiery tiffs in cinema history).

Finally, 1969‘s The Rite is a typically stylish, sexually explicit and emotionally bleak exercise in insecurity. When a theatre troupe is charged with obscenity, the troubled magistrate uncovers a destructive triangle of dependency in this television play that highlights the Swede’s affiliation with the theatre.

There is little in the way of extras, but these brittle features are a treat enough.

(Mark Edmundson)

LA Lécrnlcs (18) 94min

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