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Brink of Life (1958)
"Nära livet" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  8 November 1959 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 852 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 9 critic

Three women in a maternity ward reveal their lives and intimate thoughts to each other while in a maternity ward together, where they face the choice of keeping their babies or offering them for adoption.



(novels), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Eva Dahlbeck ...
Stina Andersson
Cecilia Ellius
Hjördis Petterson
Barbro Hiort af Ornäs ...
Nurse Brita
Anders Ellius
Harry Andersson
Gunnar Sjöberg ...
Dr. Nordlander
Ann-Marie Gyllenspetz ...
Counsellor Gran
Inga Landgré ...
Greta Ellius


Three women in a maternity ward reveal their lives and intimate thoughts to each other while in a maternity ward together, where they face the choice of keeping their babies or offering them for adoption.

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Release Date:

8 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brink of Life  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

An Early Bergman Gem, as equally deserving of attention as the Seventh Seal
26 December 2001 | by (State College, PA) – See all my reviews

Truffaut aptly observed that Brink of Life (also, So Close to Life) complements the Seventh Seal, and should be considered in conjunction with it. These two films represent opposite poles of Bergman's style. While the Seventh Seal is a visual masterpiece, its characters and dialogue ultimately leave one cold. I think viewers often confuse this coldness with a certain pessimism in Bergman's vision. If you think the Seventh Seal is a pessimistic film, watch Brink of Life and then reconsider that assessment. Remarkably, the picture anticipates, and at times even surpasses, the mature, so-called "chamber" works of the 70s, particularly, Cries and Whispers and Autumn Sonata. In fact, it can rival even Cries and Whispers for its portrayal of female characters writhing in agony. Imagine every meandering digression into talk of abortion, infanticide, matricide, genital mutilation, et cetera, which one finds in nearly everyone of Bergman's films--imagine this being concentrated into the subject matter of one film, and you have Brink of Life. The film is visually austere, with some wonderful close-ups, but ultimately very restrained. Sven Nykvist was not the cinematographer for this project, which reinforces how important their collaboration was, not that this was ever in doubt. Nonetheless, the screenplay is top-notch, and is done justice by superb peformances from three Bergman regulars, Igrid Thulin, Eva Dahlbeck, and Bibi Andersson. What drives the picture is the absorbing dialogue between the three female leads, each of whom carries a unique attitude toward her pregnancy. Considered together, SEVENTH SEAL and BRINK OF LIFE foreshadow Bergman's masterpieces of the mid 60s, such as Persona and Hour of the Wolf). While not perfect, Brink of Life is a powerful drama and is essential viewing for anyone familiar with Bergman's better known work. Track down a copy of this film.

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