An imaginary woman recollects the painful experience of adultery to a storyteller.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Marianne
...
...
David
...
Markus
Michelle Gylemo ...
Isabelle
Juni Dahr ...
Margareta
...
Martin Goldman
Thérèse Brunnander ...
Petra Holst (as Therese Brunnander)
...
Anna Berg
...
Eva
...
Johan
...
Axel
...
Gustav
Gertrud Stenung ...
Martha
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Åsa Lindström ...
Prompter 2
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Storyline

Marianne is a theatre actress married to an orchestra conductor, Markus. She becomes involved in an affair with their director friend, David, which leads to a painful divorce and battle for custody of their daughter, Isabelle. Although all of them are merely fictional characters created by Bergman, their experiences become very real and traumatic for him. Written by Yuhui <yuhui@email.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, some nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

15 September 2000 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Faithless  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$292,450 (Sweden) (15 September 2000)

Gross:

$734,597 (USA) (6 July 2001)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story is loosely based on experiences of adultery from Ingmar Bergman's own life. See more »

Soundtracks

Quartet for piano and string trio, Opus 60
(3rd movement)
By Johannes Brahms
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User Reviews

Look! An intelligent film about, get this, PEOPLE!
15 March 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

'Faithless', as a film experience, is both novel and old-fashioned. Novel, because films like this simply aren't being made today, films that take the length of an expensive historical epic to concentrate on the characters, emotions, words, experiences and largely interior milieux of a handful of people; people who are not grim, sword-wielding Romans or suave cannibals, just fundamentally decent, cultured people capable of horrendous acts for love, in a low-key, familiar, plausible, yet devastating way. It is a film that knows its audience will accept 2 1/2 hours devoted largely to talk and relationships; where anything sensational, like rape, suicide or murder, is kept off-screen.

'Faithless' is, however, curiously old-fashioned. This kind of film used to be a fairly regular staple of art-house production in the 1960s and 70s, the heyday of its screenwriter, Ingmar Bergman. A time when an audience with this level of patience and willingness to involve themselves in constructing the film's meaning was quite large and influential. Where carefully realised characters, places and dialogue were important; where subjects like marriage, divorce, grief, death, betrayal were explored in complex, understanding ways that never cheated on them for the sake of a quick ending.

Such a throwback is shocking. Even the arthouse alternatives of today have largely forsaken this mode of filmmaking for fear of being labelled unwieldly or -horrors - pretentious. it is not only pre-'STar Wars', but almost pre-post-modern; irony here is a creative tool, not a cop-out attitude. I'm not suggesting that films which privilege character and dialogue over plot and action are inherently superior, but it's nice to see one once in a while.

I know they're a hard sell. I desperately want you to see this film, but I can't promise that you'll be entertained or amused. We are asked to watch, for 154 minutes, the relentless dissolution of a marriage and the adulterous relationship; we are asked to watch characters analyse, torture themselves, seek emotional exits through self-pity and histrionics. We are asked to watch the effect of all this on a young child. We have to watch this path lead to some truly shocking climaxes. Even 'lollipops', such as the pleasure of the affair, the Parisian interlude etc., are soured by our foreknowledge of the events and their general outcome, if not details. There is no Hollywood softening through swelling music or redemptive epiphanies. The film's austerity, autumnal/wintry tone and self-reflexive formal apparatus reminds me of a late Beckett play, like'Ohio Impromptu' or 'That Time'. An old artist (in this case a filmmaker), emotionally paralysed for decades having taken the wrong decisions in a relationship through a monstrous pride and egotism, tries to unravel the processes that led him to his current shellshocked state.

The long, painful move towards understanding involves tortuous conservations with ghosts, memories, past selves, all filtered through, and thus compromised by his own subjective ego, his need to explain and expiate. The film we watch is also about the creation of the film we're watching. Self-reflexivity intrudes throughout - the film projector through the window behind Bergman; the characters all in the arts; the theatre settings; the allusions to Bergman's past works; the motif of the 'Magic Flute' magic box etc. - all emphasising the way characters perform and ritualise their genuine feelings; asking us how we interpret testimonies that are, in any case, the wranglings of a guilty man's head.

The film is such a bracing reminder of what cinema used to do, you're prepared to forgive its faults - the neatness of the plot, especially, tending predictably towards a harrowing, yet cathartic, revelation. Like Francois Ozon's brilliant Fassbinder adaptation 'Water Falling on Burning Rocks', Ullman's Bergman pastiche cannot fully replicate the power of the original; audiences couldn't handle it, we've been intellectually softened. The climax is harrowing, but contained - think of the true horrors of a film like 'Cries and Whispers'. Bergman would never let us, or the character Bergman, off so easily.

But this is Ullmann's picture, and the way she films a scene like Marianne's revelation about her nocturnal plea-bargaining with her husband, or the earlier, squirmingly comic scene where he discovers the lovers in flagranto delicto, have an empathetic, non-exploitative tact that may have been beyond her master.


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