Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.
Ten years of Marianne and Johan's relationship are presented. We first meet them ten years into their marriage. He is a college professor, she a divorce lawyer. They say that they are ... See full summary »
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Marianne and Johan meet again after thirty years without contact, when Marianne suddenly feels a need to see her ex-husband again. She decides to visit Johan at his old summer house in the western province of Dalarna. And so, one beautiful autumn day, there she is, beside his reclining chair, waking him with a light kiss. Staying at a cottage on the property are Johan's son Henrik and Henrik's daughter Karin. Henrik is giving his daughter cello lessons and already sees her future as staked out. Relations between father and son are very strained, but both are protective of Karin. They are all still mourning Anna, Henrik's much-loved wife, who died two years ago, yet who, in many ways, remains present among them. Marianne soon realizes that things are not all as they should be, and she finds herself unwillingly drawn into a complicated and upsetting power struggle. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
There are some interesting discrepancies in relation to the time line of the characters. The ages given for the characters are 63 (Marianne), 86 (Johan) and 61 (Henrik). Marianne says that she has not seen Johan for 32 years and that they had been married for 16 years. This means that she married Johan when she was 15 and he was 38. Johan had a falling out with his son when Henrik was 18/19, which must have been after Johan's marriage to Marianne. See more »
"Saraband" is a moving and challenging, successful return by Bergman to the quality of films of an earlier period, like "Hour of the Wolf" or of course "Scenes from a Marriage," with characters held in confessional close-ups, trapped by ego and anxiety.
With an intolerable burden of the generations, a young woman must make a choice that may be tragic. There are no useful models, not even the briefly glimpsed folk-art carving of the Last Supper with John, the beloved disciple, blissful on the lap of Jesus, not law, Kierkegaard, whiskey, or Bach either.
It is regrettable if after all these years this is Bergman's "Tempest" (though then appropriately involving Erland Josephson--all the actors are necessarily extremely good). Shakespeare did go on to work on "The Two Noble Kinsman."
SVT could have given Bergman film instead of digital recording. RAI uses film for its splendid productions, or it used to. Seen in a theatre, the visual quality was imperfect. How could people think this work would not deserve general theatrical release?
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