The common denominator with these three films is, of course, they were directed by legendary film director Ingmar Bergman. He mined the depths of relationships and explored raw emotions unflinchingly with his camera. Bergman would explore the sexual side of people as a cause for their deviance.
In The Rite, Bergman explores the themes of power, control and impotency. A censor has called into question a theater act and deemed it vulgar. The actors fight his ruling and a very sexual power struggle ensues. The censor has designs for the actress of the group but is too meek to act on them but not too to not fantasize about dominating her.
In The Silence, two sisters travel home by train with the younger sister’s young son in tow. Another power struggle is the theme yet again and, again, the relationship between the sister’s is a bit eschewed. Bergman teases his audience by hinting ever so subtly about a lesbian relationship between the two.
One sister is young and restless and the other is older and tired. Yet, it is very obvious that they fill each others needs in a way they do not comprehend. While Gunnel Lindblom’s character’s son (Bergman?) tries to make sense of the world and form his own identity in a very feminine culture.
In Hour of the Wolf, Bergman stalwart Max von Sydow plays a thinly veiled version of the director. Von Sydow is an artist who is losing his grip with reality. He suspects a cult is behind the torment. Hour of the Wolf was Bergman at his most abstract and darkest. Ingrid Thulin plays the mysterious woman who messes with the psychosis of the artist.
Bergman was at a very low point in his life and the film very much reflected that. Thulin, an accomplished actress, embodied the women in Bergman’s life and the distrust he had for them.