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.
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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
The title comes from cello suites composed by Bach, which are dances for couples. The film follows the shape of the dance, with a couple in a conversation that can be described as the dance. See more »
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 »
For many years "The Seventh Seal" has not only been my favorite Bergman film, but my all-time list topper. Although others have since moved into that place, Bergman's genius as a probing and revelatory filmmaker continue to astound and reward me.
"Saraband" for me is about as good as he gets...and that's high praise. Here the human soul in anguish is laid bare in all its honest need...a thwarted one...for love and understanding. A once married couple, Marianne and Johann (brilliantly portrayed by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson) do their saraband even after 30 years apart. And like that dance, in its repetitive themes, their relationship as well as that of Johann's son and granddaughter form a kind of tragic rondo, sadly and inexorably replicated. Henrik, the 61 year old son (portrayed with amazing profoundity by Borje Ahlstedt) cannot extricate himself from the slings and arrows aimed at him continually by his father. The one character, now dead, who serves as a graceful inspiration to them all is Henrik's wife and his daughter, Karin's mother...Anna. We see her beautiful face in a photographic portrait, but her loving presence in their memory is so strong it becomes a kind of living influence. Karin, played by the stunning Julia Dufvenius, is also the victim of the family dynamic and forms the important fourth in this saraband of life and fate.
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