Intricately structured and technically accomplished, Thirst is an often dazzling examination of people burdened by the past and united in isolation. The principal couple, Bertil (Birger Malmsten) and Ruth (Eva Henning), travel home by train to Sweden from Switzerland, at each other’s throats the whole way. Meanwhile, in Stockholm, Bertil’s former lover, Viola (Birgit Tengroth, who also wrote the stories on which the film is based), tries to evade the predatory advances of her psychiatrist, and then of a ballet dancer who was once a friend of Ruth’s. With this dark and multilayered drama, sustained by biting dialogue, Ingmar Bergman began to reveal his profound understanding of the female psyche.

Film Info

  • Sweden
  • 1949
  • 84 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • Swedish

Available In

Collector's Set

Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema

Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema

Blu-ray Box Set

30 Discs


Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman

Eclipse 1: Early Bergman

DVD Box Set

5 Discs


Eva Henning
Birger Malmsten
Birgit Tengroth
Hasse Ekman
Doctor Rosengren
Mimmi Nelson
Bengt Eklund
Gaby Stenberg
Naima Wifstrand
Miss Henriksson
Ingmar Bergman
Helge Hagerman
Herbert Grevenius
From the short story by
Birgit Tengroth
Gunnar Fischer
Oscar Rosander
Set designer
Nils Svenwall
Erik Nordgren


Mirrors of Bergman
Mirrors of Bergman

Filmmaker Kogonada, with a little help from Sylvia Plath, reflects on women and mirrors in the films of Ingmar Bergman.

By Kogonada

Thirst in Santa Fe

Repertory Picks

Thirst in Santa Fe
This week, as part of its annual series the Auteurs, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is screening Ingmar Bergman’s 1949 film Thirst. Like many of the Swedish master’s early works, this rarely shown character study offers…


Ingmar Bergman

Writer, Director

Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman

The Swedish auteur began his artistic career in the theater but eventually navigated toward film—"the great adventure," as he called it—initially as a screenwriter and then as a director. Simply put, in the fifties and sixties, the name Ingmar Bergman was synonymous with European art cinema. Yet his incredible run of successes in that era—including The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, and The Virgin Spring, haunting black-and-white elegies on the nature of God and death—merely paved the way for a long and continuously dazzling career that would take him from the daring “Silence of God” trilogy (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence) to the existential terrors of Cries and Whispers to the family epic Fanny and Alexander, with which he “retired” from the cinema. Bergman died in July 2007, leaving behind one of the richest bodies of work in the history of cinema.