Ingmar Bergman – Viskningar och rop AKA Cries and Whispers [+Extras] (1972)

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In his book Images, Ingmar Bergman has written: “All my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except for Cries and Whispers. In the screenplay it says that red represents the interior of the soul. When I was a child, I imagined the soul to be a dragon, a shadow floating in the air like blue smoke – a huge winged creature, half bird, half fish. But inside the dragon, everything was red.”

Certainly, Cries and Whispers marks the most sophisticated use of color in Bergman’s long career. It was only in 1963 that he turned, somewhat reluctantly, to color for All These Women, and even after that he continued to opt for black and white in such critical films as Persona, Hour of the Wolf, and Shame. With Cries and Whispers, however, Bergman for once – by his own admission – wants the work to be regarded in chromatic terms. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – En passion AKA The Passion of Anna [+Extras] (1969)

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The Passion of Anna is a 1969 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Its original Swedish title is En passion, which means “A passion”. Bergman was awarded Best Director at the 1971 National Society of Film Critics Awards for the film.

Plot Summary:
Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets Anna, who is grieving the recent deaths of her husband and son. She appears zealous in her faith and steadfast in her search for truth, but gradually her delusions surface. Andreas and Anna pursue a love affair, but he is unable to overcome his feelings of deep humiliation and remains disconnected. Meanwhile, the island community is victimized by an unknown person committing acts of animal cruelty. Continue reading

Sofia Norlin – Ömheten AKA Broken Hill Blues (2013)

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Underground explosions cause the snow to flutter down from the trees and the houses to shake. The ground beneath Kiruna is so brittle that soon all the inhabitants of Sweden’s northernmost town will have to move to another place. It seems the mining company has decided everyone’s future – for good or for bad. In her first feature film, which only has sparse dialogue and is more a series of atmospheric images than a linear story, the director describes the feelings of the young people who live here. Markus has no interest in anything except cars and resists all of his parents’ well-intentioned attempts to give him advice. Daniel has big problems with his father who is addicted to alcohol. Both lads are continuously on edge. The sound of heavy machinery, the squealing of conveyor belts and the metallic hammering of drills pervades the air. In winter it’s bitterly cold; in summer it’s sunny and green. The breathtaking beauty of the landscape is ruptured by the huge industrial sites and slag heaps. Continue reading

Ingmar Bergman – Törst AKA Thirst (1949)

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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

Liv Ullmann – Trolösa AKA Faithless (2000)

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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