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April 20, 2007

Scenes from a Marriage - 7

Ingmar Bergman has two types of films. The theological: The Seventh Seal, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Silence, etc. And the relational: Wild Strawberries, Autumn Sonata, Saraband (which is this films sequel, 30 years later), and this film. These latter films show off Bergman's ability to write long, complex, intense and real dialogue. This film is no exception. It is three hours of dialogue almost exclusively between Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson). Originally a six-part TV series, I watched the shorter theatrical version. The film chronicles the breakdown of a marriage over the course of 10 years. And while the relationship is moving further apart physically and emotionally, the bond that these two have shows as they argue and continually reconnect. Bergman has the gift of being able to right very honest dialogue that is at times painful and at others beautiful and poetic. It makes watching this film both difficult and revealing. While I'm not married so I can't say whether these conversations are true or realistic, they seem to reflect the cares and concerns of any two people who are bonded together and have an intimate relationship. These conversations are very honest, at point maybe too honest. The actors do a great job of showing their emotion, and as their demeanor changes in the different vignettes the viewer gains as much from the unspoken as from what is spoken.

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