Ingmar Bergman won his second Best Foreign Film Oscar for the moody family drama Through a Glass Darkly. It is the first of what came to be called his chamber dramas, which positioned four characters in one place where they could interact like a string quartet.
It has also been referred to as the first of his trilogy of faith, followed by Winter Light and The Silence, dealing with issues of God and love. Shot in black-and-white and running only 90 minutes long, the film opens with a quote from the book of Corinthians.
Suffering from severe mental illness, Karin (Harriet Andersson) has just been released from a psychiatric hospital. She vacations for a summer on an island with her family to help speed up her recovery, but they can't offer the support that she needs.
Her father, David (Gunnar Björnstrand), is a clinical and detached writer; her husband, Martin (Max Von Sydow), is a doctor unable to assist her illness; and her brother, Minus (Lars Passgård), is sexually coming of age and dealing with his own emotional problems. Karin's condition worsens and she thinks a spider is God.
It has been argued that the script for Through a Glass Darkly was influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, The Yellow Wallpaper.