- Rated: R
- Run Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: August 30, 2011
- Originally Released: 1976
- Label: Olive Films
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.78
- Subtitles - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2011
"FACE TO FACE, like so many of Berman's mature films, remains a powerful feminist document..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Ingmar Bergman's gut-wrenching drama stars Liv Ullmann (Cries and Whispers) as a successful psychiatrist who, despite her professional prowess, suffers from profound depression and mental illness. She finds herself teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown, haunted by disturbing images and emotions from her past. Desperately in search of a escape from her doldrums, she has an affair with fellow doctor Tomas Jacobi (Erland Josephson, The Sacrifice). This only worsens her hysteria as she struggles to maintain her grasp on sanity and reality. Ullmann's devastating performance earned her multiple awards including a Golden Globe nomination and an Oscar nomination. Writer, Producer and Director Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal) was also nominated for a Best Director Academy Award.
Ingmar Bergman's FACE TO FACE is a psychodrama featuring family strife, childhood trauma, and psychotherapy--all plot elements that recur consistently throughout the Swedish filmmaker's latter works. Liv Ullmann plays Dr. Jenny Isaksson, a successful psychiatrist who visits her grandparents (Aino Taube-Henrikson and Gunnar Björnstrand) while her husband, Erik, and their daughter are away on vacation. Hoping for a brief respite and a chance to recuperate, she instead finds herself transported back to her childhood, and unhappy memories, nightmares, and hallucinations threaten to overwhelm her. She breaks down after an adulterous encounter with another man (Erland Josephson) and realizes she is losing her mind. After a botched suicide attempt, Isaksson is hospitalized and decides to reconsider her situation.
Female characters are central to most of the films of Bergman's mature phase, and this picture represents yet another study of a woman's harrowing personal struggle, rendered onscreen via Bergman's characteristic close-ups and cinematographer Sven Nykvist's highly expressive photography. Ullmann's strong performance in what has been called one of the lesser Bergman films of the 1970s is riveting and engrossing throughout and at the time of the film's release prompted some to refer to her as the greatest film actress of the day.
Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a Swedish psychiatrist with a seemingly perfect life--successful career, good marriage, nice family, even a lover--until her husband and daughter take a short trip, leaving her alone. Because their new house is in the midst of being built, Jenny stays with her grandparents in the home she grew up in after her parents died in a car crash. Face-to-face with herself, Jenny suddenly breaks down, and memories of her life are hauntingly magnified and distorted in her mind. After she tries to kill herself with an overdose of pills, a fellow psychiatrist helps guide her to self-realization and recovery.
- Theatrical Release: April 5, 1976 (NYC)
- This film was originally shown on Swedish television as a four-part miniseries, then edited by the director for theatrical release.
- The director began work on this film after suffering a nervous breakdown himself as a result of being charged with tax evasion by the Swedish government.
- Bergman's daughter plays a brief unbilled cameo as Ullmann's child.