Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson) through matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partners. This is Bergman’s original five-hour, six-part television version.
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Epic minutiae. A superbly modulated example of film (or as here, television; perhaps best suited to this form of existential microscopy) as mirror. Reflecting, dissecting then - to an extent - reconstructing, it subtly adds, or invites, layers of wise commentary on the frailties and vanities of life. Bergman's direction appears imperceptible until you realise - frequently - this is a master at work.
A modest, chambery production of great, deep insight into the institution of marriage. Bergman's script may strike some viewers as too bitter and scornful, but if there ever was a writer/director more in tune with human unfulfilment and its doubts, that could draw such inspired eloquence and poetry in its dialogue, I have not yet seen. Sven Nykvist's dynamic and expressive camera work is specially worth mentioning.
Long, single-takes of people arguing, and more importantly, just talking are my kind of films. This one, being by Bergman, is, of course, a fantastic one. My favorite 'scenes' were the third Paula and the fifth The Illiterates. They are so realistic while at the same time so incomprehensible that one may be repelled from the action. Ullmann is of course the main show, with Andersson in a great supporting role.
Emotionally draining. Through simple backdrops and personal experience, B speaks so many truths about the contradictions of relationships and marriage. The move from a static state of banal routine, lying to yourself, what married couples "should" be and constructed identities to the realization that love is always imperfect, that a romantic fairy tale is a lie, is fantastic to experience. Unlike anything in cinema.
A supremely honest and true romance portraying our amazing capacity to hurt and forgive one another. Reminding us there is a difference between compatibility and sexual attraction, between a fleeting moments satisfaction and a 'working' life long relationship.