Scott Marks 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
A screenplay by Ingmar Bergman placed into the directorial, or custodial, hands of one of his former actresses and off-screen lovers, Liv Ullmann. (Not their first such collaboration: see Private Confessions, 1997.) The plain lettering and plain background of the opening credits, the absence of any music behind them, the prevailing color scheme of brown, beige, amber, and yellow, the general ambience of Scandinavian severity — all of this definitively classifies the filmmaking as School-of-Bergman. And of course the dialogue burrows straight down to, and settles permanently in, the wormy rooty depths of introspection, amateur psychoanalysis, self-exposure, and self-flagellation: "We felt we were up against a brick wall. I was miserable." And: "Sometimes you drape yourself in misery." And: "Our affinity lay in our misery." And on and on. The raw material may well be searingly, scaldingly autobiographical. An island recluse identified in the credits as "Bergman" (ah-ha!), played by Bergman veteran Erland Josephson, interrogates a ghostly "character" called Marianne Vogler (a favorite Bergman surname), an Ullmann-like thespian with the straight back and muscled rump of a dancer, and the wide slanted astonished eyes of a Lauren Hutton, who recounts her extramarital affair with a Swedish film director (a man so unappetizing, even apart from his outbursts of domestic violence, that we cannot imagine what she sees in him) and her divorce from an internationally renowned symphony conductor ("Markus said sex with me was better than conducting Rite of Spring"). But the degree of factual truth in the tale hardly matters. Bergman will see through Bergman's eyes, wherever he looks. And he will see the same old things. For what he had to say, he made more than enough films of his own. This one is a makeshift and a redundancy and, at two and a half hours, a dreadful ordeal. With Lena Endre, Krister Henriksson, Thomas Hanzon. 2000.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated R | 2 hours, 22 minutes