Close Up

1 December 2018 - 14 January 2019: Shame


Ingmar Bergman
1968 | 103 min | B/W | Digital
Swedish with English subtitles

"Though he lived in neutral Sweden, Bergman was not immune to the horrors of the 20th century’s many nasty conflicts, and in Shame, the director’s aggrieved conscience regarding his longtime detachment from political conflict weighs heavily on a narrative that considers the ravages of violence on innocent bystanders. Made during the height of the Vietnam War (intimations of which already made their way into The Silence and Persona), the film vividly dramatizes a brutal Civil War as it rips its way into the lives of Jan and Eva Rosenberg (Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann), a loving couple who nonetheless harbor differing visions of their future and dormant resentments to go with it. The war, potently realized first as an ominous ambiance of offscreen clatter and flashes of grenade fire and, eventually, as a frighteningly immediate and deadly ordeal, interrupts the pair’s lives just as their most private epiphanies are on the horizon, and as state forces and rebel armies descend on the Rosenberg farm, precious little is able to remain sacred in their relationship. Featuring profoundly intimate performances from von Sydow and Ullmann as well as some of Bergman’s most pyrotechnical filmmaking, Shame bears witness to the methodical scorching of the earth and the few bonds that survive in the rubble." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman