Hets (Torment). 1944. Sweden. Directed by Alf Sjöberg. Screenplay by Ingmar Bergman. With Alf Kjellin, Mai Zetterling, Stig Järrel. 35mm. In Swedish; English subtitles. 101 min.
Ingmar Bergman’s first effort as a screenwriter and assistant director (some of the exterior shots were the first he ever directed himself), is a noir fever dream of first love, manipulation, and abuse of power. Jan-Erik Windgren (Alf Kjellin), a well-to-do boarding school student approaching his final exams, is constantly terrorized by his sadistic Latin teacher, called “Caligula” by the students. As Jan-Erik forms a relationship with Bertha, the local newsagent clerk, Caligula’s mysterious obsession with Jan-Erik’s affairs grows. Dark connections between Jan-Erik, Bertha, and Caligula unravel, revealing the tenuousness of confronting authority while on the precipice of adulthood. Torment first premiered in the US at MoMA in October 1962, as part of a retrospective of Swedish Films made between 1909 and 1957.