The Touch (1971 film)

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The Touch
File:The Touch (1971 film).jpg
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Produced by Lars-Owe Carlberg
Ingmar Bergman
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Elliott Gould
Bibi Andersson
Max von Sydow
Sheila Reid
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Release dates
  • 30 August 1971 (1971-08-30)
Running time
106 minutes
Country Sweden
Language English
Budget $1,200,000[1]
Box office $1,135,000[1]

The Touch (Swedish: Beröringen) is a 1971 film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Elliott Gould, and Sheila Reid.


Andreas and Karin Vergerus (von Sydow and Andersson) live in fine rapport, their personalities matching well. Both are quiet, contemplative, and very rational persons, not liable to act spontaneously. The intruder, "David Kovac", played by Elliott Gould, is in contrast an impetuous man, uncompromising, overbearing, and tormented by inner contradictions and compulsions. Karin and David become clandestine lovers, but aren't appropriate for each other. Before they meet David attempted suicide and Karin was unhappy to be reduced to a wife. They flower in their new love and it destroys their lives.


Instead the question of why Karin turns away from Andreas seems intentionally perplexing. The dialogue and acting of the lovers is cerebral and cold, as if they were reciting dazedly on a stage, astounding themselves with their actions and feelings, and acting on an impulse isolated from their personalities. This impulse or drive is not eros, as especially at the beginning of their affair sex is more of a problem than a release for the lovers.

The central metaphor of the film is a medieval wooden statue of Mary, recently excavated after being buried for centuries, analogous to Gould's and Andersson's potential to be lovers or man and woman. But with the disinterment of the Mary, insect larvae come alive inside her, corroding her from within, much as David and Karin's awakening causes them similar destruction.

Cast (in credits order)

Rest of cast listed alphabetically


The film earned rentals of $485,000 in North America and $650,000 in other countries. It recorded an overall loss of $1,080,000.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3

External links