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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Saraband (2003)

A woman (Liv Ullmann) travels to the country home of an ex-husband (Erland Josephson) she hasn't seen in over 30 years. It's an uncomfortable visitation at first that becomes complicated when the ex-husband's granddaughter (Julia Dufvenius) faces a crisis in the relationship with her father (Borje Ahlstedt). Ingmar Bergman's final film was made for Swedish television but released theatrically everywhere else. Ullmann and Josephson play the same couple they played in Bergman's SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE thirty years earlier. Although at first it might seem aimless, it's a film you have to stay connected with to get the payoff. While this doesn't rank with Bergman's masterpieces, even second tier Bergman provides rewards that lesser artists can only dream about. The film should really be called ANNA because the character of Anna may be dead but she permeates the entire film's narrative. Bergman's theme is love but as it is Bergman, we see the destructive power of unhealthy "love". The relationship between Dufvenius and Ahlstedt is very disturbing and bordering on incest and though I suspect Bergman wants us to have some empathy for Ahlstedt's emotionally weak character, I just found him repugnant. It's Bergman, it needs to be seen and a fitting swan song to one of cinema's great geniuses.

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