In his first original screenplay, Bergman uses the life and suicide of a teenage prostitute who escapes the sinister clutches of her pimping fiance in a brief affair with a scriptwriter both to illustrate an abstract moral thesis (life as Hell) and explore the relationship between art and reality. The dialogue in Prison is concise and riddled as never before with its author’s own doubts, fears and convictions. The film also marked a giant step forward in terms of Bergman developing his own unique cinematic style. As the critic Peter Cowie has noted, ‘many directors could have shot Bergman’s earlier films; no one else could have created the strange, graphic quality of the vision in Prison. It is his first work in the true Strindberg tradition.’
Black and white.