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The Rite (1969 film)

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The Rite
Promotional poster
Directed byIngmar Bergman
Written byIngmar Bergman
Produced byLars-Owe Carlberg
StarringIngmar Bergman
Gunnar Björnstrand
Anders Ek
Erik Hell
Ingrid Thulin
CinematographySven Nykvist
Release date
  • 25 March 1969 (1969-03-25)
Running time
72 minutes

The Rite (Swedish: Riten) is a 1969 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. It premiered on Swedish television on 25 March 1969.[1] Actors Thea (Ingrid Thulin), Sebastian (Anders Ek) and Hans (Gunnar Björnstrand) are sequestered in the offices of Judge Abrahamson (Erik Hell), who questions them about the play they have been performing, which has been accused of being obscene. As the judge interviews them separately and together, the three performers work through their considerable psycho-sexual baggage with each other, while collectively laying siege to the sensibilities of their authoritarian interrogator.

The film had a joint Nordic premiere on television on 25 March 1969. It was rerun on SVT2 August 1, 1973. The premiere began with a short conversation between Ingmar Bergman and TV theatre director Lars Löfgren. Bergman urged the viewers to turn off the TV and go to the movies instead. Both Swedish and Norwegian critics were mostly positive, but somewhat confused.


A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and separately, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships are complicated. Sebastian, a volatile heavy drinker in debt, is guilty of killing his former partner and is having an affair with Thea, the dead man's widow. Thea, a high-strung woman who is prone to fits and seemingly fragile, is currently married to Sebastian's new partner, Hans. Hans is the troupe's leader. He is wealthy, self-contained, and growing weary of the troupe. The judge plays on the trio's insecurities, but they may have their revenge when they finally perform The Rite in a private session with him.



  1. ^ "Riten (1969): Release dates". Swedish Film Database. Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved 17 November 2010.

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