Midvinterblot (1946)

aka The Sacrifice
Article 4242 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 6-4-2013
Directed by Gosta Werner
Featuring Gunnar Bjornstrand, Henrik Schildt, Yngve Nordwall
Country: Sweden
What it is: Abstract horror

In ancient Sweden, a human sacrifice is performed in the dead of winter to bring the sun out.

The above plot description does not just cover the beginning of the movie; it is, in fact, the entire plot of this short. And before you level any accusations of me engaging in plot spoilers, I need to say that the narrator pretty much tells us all of that information in the opening scenes. This makes me suspect that it isn’t the plot that is of primary importance here; the plot’s existence is merely a platform from which the movie hangs its imagery. This would work just fine if the imagery was engaging and hypnotic enough to be a source of fascination in and of itself. Unfortunately, it is only sporadically so; the shots of the various faces waiting for the sacrifice is the best thing here; the rest of the imagery (the shots of the wintry landscape, the scenes of blood being spattered on the various characters) is disappointing, especially when you realize that the short isn’t going to take you anywhere beyond the plot description. The music is also predictable and sometimes a little distracting; some scenes would work better in silence. Perhaps it’s not surprising to discover that this is someone’s first movie; I’ve not seen any of the other works of Gosta Werner, but I hope this one turned out to be a stepping stone to better things.

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