A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow
"The Silence" is about the emotional distance between two sisters. The younger one is still attractive enough to pick up a lover in a strange city. The older one -- even though she is very ... See full summary »
Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets ... See full summary »
The Russian poet Andrei Gorchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th-century Russian composer. In an ancient spa town, ... See full summary »
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
After having neglected her children for many years, world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva in her home. To her surprise she finds her other daughter, Helena, there as well. Helena is mentally disabled, and Eva has taken Helena out of the institution where their mother had placed her. The tension between Charlotte and Eva only builds up slowly, until a nightly conversation releases all the things they have wanted to tell each other. Written by
In the dialogue scene where Charlotte is lying on the floor and Eva is sitting on the sofa behind her, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the curtains when the camera pans to Eva for a few seconds. See more »
It was all done in the name of love. Everything is possible and is done in the name of love and solicitude.
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Generally, either "Seventh Seal" or "Persona" is the film that a critic will name if s/he is stuck with the task of naming Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement. A couple others might be named, but rarely do you hear a critic espouse the brilliance of "Autumn Sonata."
The first thing I noticed about this film is that it is, like "Cries and Whispers," nothing less than a painting. The textures, the warm reds and the close-ups of the faces of wounded souls, all combine to make the viewer realize that s/he is witnessing High Art.
Then there's the shot of Liv Ullman's wounded profile as she stares at her mother, Ingrid Bergman, while mother shows Liv how the Chopin piece should be played. It is an eloquent scene. Truly heartbreaking and unforgettable. One can feel Liv's pain begin to show itself: it is the painful shame of inadequacy and mediocrity made all the more shameful because it is mother inspiring these feelings in her.
Later, it's Liv's cruelty toward her mother in that unforgettable late night diatribe.
And finally, it's Liv's crippled sister and Ingrid's disgust at the thought that not only did mediocrity crawl out of her womb, but so did deformity and suffering.
The film is bleak (obviously) and the resolution is only slightly hopeful. It is however a masterpiece -- a film that reveals that what the world needs now is not Love, as the song proclaims, but Compassion and Grace. Liv Ullman is the only actress who can say these things without opening her mouth. Ingmar Bergman is the only filmmaker who can make a seemingly banal story into an eloquent prayer for redemption and reconciliation.
(CAUTION: Dont take mom to see it on mother's day ... unless...)
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