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More a staged play for television than a film, this is wordy, theatrical, and yet still has a lot of arresting moments.
A fictionalized dramatization about the making of "The Phantom Carriage" Bergman's favorite film, a great Swedish silent that he reportedly saw over 100 times, and prompted him to become a film-maker.
Yet the play (not written by Bergman) is less about that specific film than relationships, the adaptation of literature to film in general, generational conflict, women and men's sexualities as they age, the tension between social propriety and the desire to cast off bourgeois trappings among artists, etc.
Just four characters populate this world. The self-satisfied yet vulnerable film-maker creating "The Image Maker", his somewhat subservient director of photography, the young, unapologetically promiscuous actress the director has an affair with, and the 60 something Nobel prize wining female author whose story is the basis for the film.
Almost the entire piece takes place in a screening room as they prepare to show the great author this cinematic reinvention of her work, but along the way the group gets broken into various twos and threes working out their own insecurities and emotional and philosophical confusions.
While far from great Bergman, it's always interesting, and the context (I got it in the 2 disc Tartan DVD collection, that also includes the original "The Phantom Carriage" an amazing film) gives it an additional resonance and depth.
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