Archive for the ‘Saraband’ Category

Saraband – review – Film Comment #55

Film Comment – #55 – Saraband – Ingmar Bergman – 2003

“Saraband” is the final film from legendary film director Ingmar Bergman, and the sequel to his 1973 film “Scenes from a Marriage”. It is also, and I did not know this, his first film in 20 years since 1982’s Oscar winning “Fanny and Alexander”. The film revolves around a married couple, that has been estranged for some time, Marianne (played by Liv Ullmann) and her husband, Joseph (played by Erland Josephson) .

The film is intensely dialogue driven as the couple reminisce about their past, their children, their time together, the good and the bad, and how time has taken it’s toll on both of them and their lives. Now the film is shot almost like a play, being acted out, and you can tell the sets look kind of fake. I had to check up on this because the film wasn’t really sitting right for me for some reason. Come to find out this is actually a Swedish made for TV movie, so it has this kind of lackluster quality to the film, which definitely hurts it. Honestly I probably could have shot this thing with three stationary cameras. It’s not exactly a visual masterwork. I’m sure Bergman, like many other great directors before him, was having trouble securing financing for the film in his old age.

The dialogue is actually really great, we learn of all the regrets this couple have had through the think and thin of their marriage, but they also realize how great their lives have been as well. It’s also really depressing though. These two people are nearing the end of their lives, and they just sit around and kind of bemoan the fact that death is coming…rough. Their really isn’t much to the film, other than them sitting on a porch the majority of the time and chatting. We eventually move on, learning about Joseph’s son and grand-daughter from a previous marriage. They live in a nearby cottage and he has just as strained a relationship with them. His son can’t even stand to look at him, and his grand-daughter is a budding musician who wishes to study at a renowned art school. The tension builds between the four characters and their relationships with each other.

While I actually kind of enjoyed the film, it wasn’t anything really to shout about either. I’m betting it’s inclusion on this list was more of an honorary placement, for one of the greatest film directors of all time. If you’re going to jump into Bergman I would go after his early films first. (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring)

Grade: C+