Director: Ingmar Bergman
Year Released: 1958
A 'mute' magician (Max von Sydow) and his loyal troupe travel around the country doing their act but are stopped by some naysayers who question their 'tricks': are all the 'magic acts' 'provable' or are there some things in the world that simply cannot be explained and 'otherworldly?' It's Bergman's clever comment on the power of the filmmaker as conjuror and the audience as questioning spectator - as well as a meditation on God (naturally) - and though it has its dark moments (an eyeball in the inkwell!), it's one of the Swedish auteur's more playful works (and even honors the 'performers' with its happy ending!). The acting, in parts, does seem to be a tad embellished and some elements don't make sense on first viewing (like how the doctor fails to realize he's performing an autopsy on the wrong man) but even slightly-flawed Bergman gives one plenty to (intellectually) mull over. I, for one, have always been a proponent of Carlyle's concept of 'natural supernaturalism': let's leave a bit of mystery in this sometimes surreal Universe of ours.