The Virgin Spring is a visionary medieval Swedish rape and revenge film that inspired a whole trend; The Last House on the Left, especially. It was shot in black and white in Swedish and German, but its subject matter is universal. The story was adapted from a 13th-century Swedish ballad, "Töres döttrar i Wänge" (Töre's daughters in Vänge). It’s about one of the most rudimentary crimes of all.
There’s no way to get to that breaking point without the rape. Something awful needs to happen before we get to that revenge subplot. The rape scene transcends all centuries. Rape is rape. It’s a crime now, but it wasn’t back then, and this destabilized viewers. The halfway mark is outrageous, especially by 1960 standards. Audiences weren’t really for this. Are you?
This being a period piece shot in an era of censorship from a country that wasn’t known for its horror movies, you get more of less what you singed up for. Some scenes will shock you, and some will underwhelm you. There isn’t nearly enough restitution. Cinematographically-speaking, this film deserves to be discussed in filmmaking classes. This is the birth of rape and revenge cinema.