Close Up

2 - 21 December 2018: The Passion of Anna


The Passion of Anna

Ingmar Bergman
1969 | 101 min | Colour & B/W | Digital
Swedish with English subtitles

"Capping an informal trilogy initiated by Shame and Hour of the Wolf, the often overlooked The Passion of Anna also represents a primal culmination of Bergman’s most creatively fertile decade of filmmaking. Like the prior two features, The Passion of Anna dramatizes the breakdown of a romantic relationship as exacerbated by a variety of external forces: an unseen animal killer terrorizing a small Swedish island community, intimations of the suffering wrought by the Vietnam War, and a neighboring couple with their own lingering tensions. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann again embody the sparring central duo, while Erland Josephson and Bibi Andersson play their only peers, an embittered photographer and his unhappy wife. Less a straightforward narrative than a free-associative chain of grievances, infidelities and physical altercations, the film accentuates Bergman’s audiovisual intuition over his theatrical proficiency, offering expressionistic splashes of deep red, violently suggestive parallel edits and delirious swings from quick-cut ferocity to contemplative quiet. It’s one of the most dynamic stylistic displays of Bergman’s career, which operates in contrast to the emotional fragility at the film’s core." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman