Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scenes from a Marriage

Scener ur ett äktenskap; drama, Sweden, 1973; D: Ingmar Bergman, S: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom

Professor Johan (42) and his wife Marianne (35), a lawyer, make an interview about themselves with a journalist. Later they comment how they didn't like the interview when they read it in a magazine in front of Katarina and her husband Peter. Suddenly Katarina and Peter start an argument and the diner turns into a catastrophe. After that, Johan ad Marianne start worrying about their own marriage. Johan admits he had an affair with a girl student, thus leaving with her for Paris for 6 months. When he returns, he begs Marianne to forgive him, but she files for divorce. They remain friends, taking care of their two daughters, and marrying with someone else. Marianne dreams that the world is in chaos.

Winner of a Golden Globe for best foreign language film, "Scenes from a Marriage", a 6 part TV-series turned into a film, eloquently handles the theme of transience of marriage and love from a pessimistic, objective perspective of nihilism. Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish director, creates a story in which practically only two characters star in - husband Johan and his wife Marianne - while all other characters are left in the background (for instance, Johan's mistress is not even shown), but due to inert direction the 160 minute film becomes lethargic, even boring at times. There are a few sharp dialogues present ("How could I have fallen between the legs of such a monster like you?" says Peter to his wife in a heated argument) but the majority of the story is rather too conventional, without any surprises a special spark, thus formally there isn't much different from a mass of other similar films. The actors are excellent and cope well with a bundle of empty dialogues, but "Scenes from a Marriage" inevitably sometimes resemble a soap opera.


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