Silence as the Space for Love: Bergman’s Trilogy and the Absence of God


  • Earl Allyson P. Valdez Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines


Christianity, divine silence, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Marion, phenomenological theology


Among the works of the iconic filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, his famous trilogy of films consisting of Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel, 1961), Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna, 1962) and Silence (Tystnaden, 1963) became the subject of much intrigue and controversy from a religious standpoint. These three films portray different situations which refer to God’s withdrawal from the human being, which is something that challenges the human being’s faith and his view of God. Given this, Bergman asks: What shall the believer do when God withdraws Himself, out of one’s reach? This work answers the question by pointing out that God’s silence provides the space to experience God in another way, making Himself manifest in the relationships that exist between human beings. Through Jean-Luc Marion’s phenomenological investigation of Divine Revelation and religious experience, this work interprets God’s silence as a withdrawing that manifests God as otherwise than Being, surpassing the human being’s metaphysical view of God centered on mere presence and within human categories. This withdrawal eventually calls the human being to dwell on that silence and be open to God’s revelation, in his own ways and according to His own terms. And given that God reveals Himself as Love, what Bergman points out that only in the exercise of love for others and the nurturance of meaningful relationships can God, in His silence, be truly experienced.




How to Cite

Valdez, E. A. P. (2013). Silence as the Space for Love: Bergman’s Trilogy and the Absence of God. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (4), 81–96. Retrieved from