Sight and Sound - 12/01/1974
"...A simplicity of vision..."
USA Today - 04/05/1996
"...It's one of Bergman's most accessible and powerful later works..." -- 4 out of 4 stars
Sight and Sound -
"[T]here are moments of great lyricism and tenderness."
Premiere - 06/01/2004
"[O]nly an idiot could fail to appreciate Bergman's spare, unflinching approach to the material, or the near-unbelievable level of skill and commitment the actors display."
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE was originally conceived as a six-part TV mini-series. Since the film features only two principal actors, a limited number of indoor locales, and no musical score (nor any other atmosphere-enhancing devices), the success of this intense drama stems largely from the interaction between leads Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, who play Marianne and Josef, an upper-middle-class married couple. At first glance, their lives appear to be devoid of marital conflict, but soon after the opening sequence, it becomes clear that tension is mounting just below the surface. The movie consists almost entirely of dramatic exchanges between Marianne and Josef and eventually evolves into an agonizing account of the deterioration of their marriage. But throughout it all, a deep, underlying love keeps the couple from breaking off all ties--in spite of the mutual aggression, cruelty, and even violence that forms part of their relationship.
Ingmar Bergman anticipated that SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE would baffle, if not antagonize, viewers who had come to expect more stylistically groundbreaking and aesthetically polished work from him. In fact, however, as a result of his unflinching, straightforward approach, the film proves to be one of the director's most insightful and accessible works.
Ingmar Bergman directed this portrait of a marriage slowly coming to a wrenching, furious end. Marianne and Johan had always seemed like the perfect couple--the one that would stay together when all others failed. But Johan has become infatuated with another woman, something that Marianne does not realize. When she learns the truth, she's plunged into agony...and the relationship unravels amid accusations and confrontations. The film was the winner of multiple awards from the National Society of Film Critics.
Essential Cinema |
Love Story |
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE was originally made for Swedish television, with a five-hour running time (six episodes at 50 minutes each). For the theatrical release, Bergman had the story edited down to 168 minutes.