Unlike previous pictures in which he investigated the human mind and looking for God, Ingmar Bergman turns his attention in The Silence exclusively to the body and its passions.
The story is simple: two lonely sisters – Ann and Ester – traveling home to Sweden, make a stay in the strange town of Timuku in a fictitious country. The town is full of soldiers, tanks, crowded cafe halls. The sisters, together with Ann’s seven-year-old son Johan, are installed in an old hotel with stuffy majestic rooms, deep beds and mile-long corridors.
The older, Ester (Ingrid Thulin), is a masculine type, intellectual with a lesbian fixation to Ann (Gunnel Lindblom), a seductive, sex-hungry animal. Instead of caring for her son, Ann is more interested in adventures in the town. Distressed by the antics of her amorous sister, Ester despairs and undertakes to forget her love in alcohol and degredation.
There is not much dialogue, almost no music, but the sex scenes have vigor and primitive power, to say the least. Technical credits are all excellent, with a special mention of the camerawork and the birth of a new star, Lindblom. She has the fury of an Anna Magnani and the beauty of a Sophia Loren; for the first time she has a big role in a Bergman picture.