Close Up

29 December 2018: Scenes from a Marriage


Scenes from a Marriage
Ingmar Bergman
1973 | 283 min min | Colour | Digital
Swedish with English subtitles

Please note that this is the full-length version and will include intermissions.

“Depicting ten years in the lives of a turbulent married couple, Bergman's first television series rigorously charts the evolution of a single romantic relationship as it careens toward the ravages of old age, taking stock of everything from its blissful, erotic highs to its violent, harrowing lows. Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson give arguably the performances of their careers as Marianne and Johan, a couple who share a simultaneously enriching and parasitic union, resembling time-tested friends or even siblings one moment and venomous foes the next. In adapting to the stricter production demands of television, Bergman and Nykvist turned to lightweight 16mm cameras to enable handheld, fly-on-the-wall shooting in Johan and Marianne’s modest Stockholm apartment, a decision that’s an ideal fit for the material. The claustrophobic proximity of the camera to the performers, coupled with the grainy, unshowy aesthetic, accommodates the extreme level of nuance on which the drama operates, in addition to anticipating whatever ugliness gets dredged up. Ultimately, however, it’s the show’s patiently drawn-out scenes of tranquility and mutual affection, like the one in which Ullmann and Josephson trade their deepest thoughts in front of a crackling fireplace, that linger most potently in hindsight.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman