A later scene, in which Alexander (enacting memories from Bergman's own youth) projects glass slides with a kerosene projector, is warm, dark, technically ingenious. The scenes in which the rescued children stay the night at the home of Erland Josephson as a Jewish merchant are darkly mysterious, rather exotic but not threatening.
The bishop's house, where the children were virtual prisoners, is shown in a hard, austere white light, and the camera is motionless, as if it did not want to be detected in those ominous surroundings.
Films are made to be felt as well as seen and heard, and a new generation of cinematographers, led by Nykvist and armed with film stock both faster and subtler than ever, have expanded the medium's powers to make us feel--often without our conscious awareness that we are being guided toward alarm, or anger or delight.
The Nykvist evening ended with an amazing achievement, a single very complicated tracking shot, lasting just over eight minutes, from "Sacrifice." Josephson runs, kneels, sobs, embraces friends, tries to elude others, while his two-story frame house is burning to the ground behind him.
Nykvist and Josephson had co-produced the film, using money from their participation in the profits of "Scenes From a Marriage," which they had done for nothing when Bergman was unable to obtain sufficient financing.
The shot, Nykvist said, had been choreographed by Tarkovsky for 10 years and they had rehearsed it for a week. It was ruined by a camera failure. (The director had insisted on one continuous take from one camera.)
"The carpenters rebuilt the house in 14 days, a miracle," Nykvist said. "But the second take \o7 had\f7 to work. We had no money to rebuild it a third time." The take worked fine and is stunning: bizarre, tragic, funny, exciting, unbelievable. A kind of magic, which in the end is the name of Nykvist's game.