Between 1961 and 1963, Ingmar Bergman released a remarkable trilogy of so-called chamber dramas, each one concerned with the futility of sustaining faith in God, family, love, or much else. The series proved transitional for the internationally renowned Swedish filmmaker, securing his crucial collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist (with whom Bergman would go on to make his many masterpieces--including Persona and Cries and Whispers--of the '60s, '70s, and early '80s), and underscoring a new preference for intimate, relationship-driven stories, austere settings, and haunting tones of emotional isolation and despair.
Following Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light, The Silence is the most abstract entry in the trilogy, a somewhat eerie story of two sisters, Esther (Ingrid Thulin) and Anna (Gunnel Lindblom), and the latter's son (Jörgen Lindström), all traveling by train to Sweden but forced to stay in a foreign country when Esther's chronic bronchial problems require her to rest. A stifling atmosphere, a desolate hotel, encounters with a troupe of carnival dwarves, Anna's anchoring illness, and an empty sexual encounter for Esther underscore the unnerving feeling that God has abandoned these characters to dubious salvation in their own connection. A highly memorable film. (Tom Keogh, Amazon.com)