Close Up

29 December 2018: Saraband


Ingmar Bergman
2003 | 107 min | Colour | Digital
Swedish with English subtitles

"A blistering sequel to Scenes from a Marriage, Bergman’s final work proved that his grasp of human foibles had only sharpened, not mellowed, with age. Still seething after all these years, ex-spouses Marianne and Johan (long-time collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson) are reunited when Marianne visits the surly old contrarian on his isolated estate. Slipping into the half-fond, half-insulting dialogue typical of former lovers, the two are soon overshadowed by the ongoing emotional warfare between Johan’s sixty-one-year-old son, Henrik, and Henrik’s teenage daughter, Karin. Bergman tunes this troubled foursome like a fine quartet, with each scene or sonata gathering in emotional resonance. Purposefully avoiding actual locations or realism, he places all events on pointedly artificial sets, highlighting the theatricality of the piece and the actors’ declarations. No one talks like this anymore, at least in films; instead, Saraband aims for the heights of Strindberg, Ibsen, or Chekhov, and achieves them." – Jason Sanders

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman