With Thirst (1949), Ingmar Bergman began to display an astonishing technical virtuosity and control over the medium of film. A crosshatched, multilayered narrative, sewn together with fascinating side trips and flashbacks, Thirst was adapted by theater critic (and Bergman mentor) Herbert Grevenius from four controversial short stories written by famed Swedish stage actress Birgit Tengroth, and moved Bergman even further away from his theatrical origins. Simultaneously a portrait of a decaying marriage and a dreamlike journey through various characters’ tragic pasts and presents, the film evinces a newfound assurance, both in storytelling complexity and visual invention. Notoriously hard on his own work, Bergman himself was even able to later grant, “The film does show a respectable cinematographic vitality. I was developing my own way of making movies.” Continue reading
Renowned actress-turned-director Liv Ullmann helms this bleak, nuanced film about marriage and betrayal penned by legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The story is straightforward — Marianne Vogler (Lena Endre) is a beautiful actress who is married to Markus (Thomas Hanzon), whose job as an orchestra conductor requires numerous concerts abroad, and who dotes on their young daughter Isabelle (Michelle Gylemo). Yet when Marianne has an affair with family friend David (Kirster Henriksson), a film director with a volcanic temper and little regard to those around him, the fallout destroys the marriage and brings grief and suffering to all involved, particularly Isabelle. Ullman and Bergman frame this plot with a tale about an elderly director named Bergman (Erland Josephson, who played opposite Ullman in Bergman’s landmark Scenes from a Marriage) who is trying to write a script about infidelity. In his austerely decorated house on a remote island, Bergman invites an actress, who may or may not be a figment of his imagination, to breathe life into the character of Marianne. The actress tells Bergman of Marianne’s story through flashbacks. One evening, on the closing night of the play that Marianne was in — and while Markus is abroad — David arrives for dinner with her and ultimately sleeps, platonically, in her bed. This unplanned intimacy soon leads to a full blown affair, including a three week romantic getaway to Paris. When Markus finally discovers the couple in flagrante delicto, he demands an immediate divorce and custody of their daughter. This film was screened in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. -Allmovie Continue reading
Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan’s son from another marriage and his granddaughter.
August 4, 2005
Ingmar Bergman is balancing his accounts and closing out his books. The great director is 85 years old, and announced in 1982 that “Fanny and Alexander” would be his last film. So it was, but he continued to work on the stage and for television, and then he wrote the screenplay for Liv Ullmann’s film “Faithless” (2000). Now comes his absolutely last work, “Saraband,” powerfully, painfully honest. Continue reading
Teenage angst was never this heartwarming., 13 October 2004
Author: el-p from The North East, England
Having just recently seen director Lukas Moodysson’s teen prostitution exposé, Lilja 4-ever, I was expecting a similarly bleak film in Fucking Åmål. Not so. This is the story of two teenage girls who find each other, against peer and family pressure, and their own insecurities.
It is the differences between the two girls that initially make their relationship so touching. Agnes is a loner, with only a girl in a wheelchair for a friend, who she soon insults and alienates. Before she meets Erin, we rarely see her without tears in her eyes. On the surface, Erin couldn’t be more different. She can pick and choose boyfriends and has dozens of friends. However, she is disillusioned with this life. She fights constantly with her sister, has falsely been given a reputation as a slut by those in her school, and, unlike Agnes, does not have a stable family. So, when she discovers that Erin is a lesbian, she is intrigued, if a little insensitive at first.
The bulk of the narrative concerns Erin’s attempts at coping with her homosexuality, but Moodysson also provides us with a snapshot of smalltown teenage ennui. The teens have nothing better to do than to sit around, waiting for night to come so they can get drunk, and/or have sex. This obviously leaves a lot of time for petty insults and peer pressure to build, which is the dominant them of the film, or rather, accepting difference, and not caving in to peer pressure. Continue reading
A parallel film to Vilgot Sjöman’s controversial I Am Curious-Yellow, I Am Curious–Blue also follows young Lena on her journey of self-discovery. In Blue, Lena confronts issues of religion, sexuality, and the prison system, while at the same time exploring her own personal relationships. Like Yellow, Blue freely traverses the lines between fact and fiction, employing a mix of dramatic and documentary techniques. Criterion is proud to present Vilgot Sjöman’s infamous I Am Curious-Blue.
Seized by customs upon entry to the United States, subject of a heated court battle, and banned in numerous cities, Vilgot Sjöman’s I Am Curious–Yellow is one of the most controversial films of all time. This landmark document of Swedish society during the sexual revolution has been declared both obscene and revolutionary. It tells the story of Lena (Lena Nyman), a searching and rebellious young woman, and her personal quest to understand the social and political conditions in 1960s Sweden, as well as her bold exploration of her own sexual identity. I Am Curious–Yellow is a subversive mix of dramatic and documentary techniques, attacking capitalist injustices and frankly addressing the politics of sexuality. Criterion is proud to present Vilgot Sjöman’s infamous I Am Curious-Yellow.
The taxidriver Paul and his girlfriend, the journalist Marianne (Solveig Andersson) starts to argue when Paul drags home his father, who is an alcoholic. At a party the bored Paul seduces a willing blonde in the room next to all the other guests. The next morning he wakes up between Marianne and her sister Beryl. The next couple of days are very hectic for Paul, with striptease, women and a meeting with the sadistic Mr X. Beryl escapes Mr X dressed only in a minkfur filled with drugs. Very dangerous…! Continue reading