Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)

I have a pretty small attention span for movies sometimes. I really like movies that intersperse their talkiness with sex or laughs or whatever. It's a product of my generation, I guess. But every once in a while, a movie like Scenes from a Marriage comes along to prove me wrong. Every single scene is pure talk, mostly between Johan (Erland Josephson) and Marianne (Liv Ullmann), the couple whose marriage and aftermath are detailed in the film. (Note: I watched the 2.5 hour theatrical version available on the Criterion disc, but I will definitely be going back for the 5 hour TV version someday.)

Johan and Marianne start the film as a young-ish couple, married for ten years, being interviewed by a local paper. Johan is dominating the conversation, almost uncomfortably so, and whenever Marianne starts talking personally, the interviewer interrupts to take a picture or ask another question. This sets the tone for the film - Marianne's dominance by Johan, and how she finds and defines herself. Johan has a similar quest, but one that is more complex than Marianne's. Both start these quests only after their separation and divorce.

The whole film is pretty much in closeup, examining the expressions of these people, and how they fit or contradict their words. Bergman is very interested in this film in the dichotomy of actions vs. words, as Johan claims to want a divorce, yet pretty desperately fights against it. The scene (episode on Swedish TV) where Johan and Marianne sign the divorce papers is a harrowing, intense one that made me feel a little wiped out after watching it, but the characters obviously felt the same way, as their relationship improves exponentially after that. I don't want to give too much of the details away, because even though this is a film built on ideas rather than actions, it's an amazing experience to see how these people change and evolve. I can't say enough about this film; it's honestly Bergman's masterpiece and one of the best films ever made. This review was a little babbling, but I could honestly go on forever about this film (and I probably will one day) about the rawly honest emotions portrayed in the movie. It's life, it's real, and it's amazing.

9.5/10 (I'm wary to give any movie a 10, but this might deserve it)

RIYL: Fanny & Alexander

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