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.
All three documentaries is mainly shot in the home of Ingmar Bergman. This is the first time ever that a film maker has access to Ingmar Bergman in his home at the small island Fårö in the ... See full summary »
A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in ... 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 »
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 »
It is close to Christmas. In a snow covered landscape in the countryside of Norway we meet 12 year old CECILIE , her friend KLARA and Cecilie's family . They are all preparing for Christmas... See full summary »
Jesper W. Nielsen
Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem In Memoriam said, "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Norwegian actress and director, Liv Ullmann, however, may take issue with that. Her thoughts about love and the painful loss of her relationship with acclaimed Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman are candidly revealed in the Norwegian documentary Liv & Ingmar. Directed by Dheeraj Akolkar and narrated by Ms. Ullmann who is now 73, the film spans the period from their initial meeting in 1964 when she was 25 and he was 47 to her eventual move to Hollywood and the Broadway stage.
Her granting of an interview with Akolkar was conducted in Bergman's house on the remote Faro Island in Sweden where they lived together for five years and bore a daughter, Linn. Exquisitely photographed by cinematographer Halvard Braein, the interview was strictly limited to two days at Liv's request. Separated into chapters entitled "Love," "Pain," "Loneliness," "Anger," Friendship" and "Rage," the film provides a glimpse into the high and low points of their life together, and she does not hold back on her memories of its hurt and pain. Interspersed with the interview are clips from her work in several of Bergmann's classic films including Persona, Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, and The Passion of Anna.
Interestingly, the excerpts from the films seem to mirror events that occurred in their lives at the time of filming such as the monologues from The Hour of the Wolf and the turmoil expressed in Scenes from a Marriage. In addition to the film clips are backstage photos, readings from Ms. Ullmann's autobiography, Changing (1977), her letters to Bergman, his private letters to her, and excerpts from Bergman's memoir, "The Magic Lantern," read by Swedish actor Samuel Fröler.
As expected, Liv becomes very emotional when talking about Bergman and her eyes take on an inner glow when she recalls the moments she shared with him both as an actress, a lover, and a close friend. In addition to her experience of his great love, respect and understanding, however, according to Liv, there was a side to Bergman's personality that was less pleasant. Though she now recalls it with humor, she relates how he was capable of extreme jealousy and a vengeance that once exposed her and Max von Sydow to unbearable cold while making a film. Unfortunately, Mr. Bergman was not present to tell his version of the events, which may, in fact, have been very different.
Though the ardor of their love eventually cooled (they were both married at the time), their working relationship and ultimate close friendship lasted for forty two years. While the documentary can be a moving experience, its 83-minute length cannot help but skim the surface of many aspects of their life and career. Not mentioned are Bergman's five marriages and nine children, how Liv viewed Bergman's revelation of his youthful support of the Nazi cause, and the impact of his 1976 arrest on tax evasion that led to his nervous breakdown. There is also too little discussion of his talent as a director and the qualities in her eyes that made his films so masterful.
Regardless of its limitations, however, Liv & Ingmar is an absorbing and often poetic depiction of the love of two very different people who were able to transcend their own barriers and leave a legacy on film that was greater and perhaps more universal because of their relationship. Indispensable for admirers of their work, my hope is that this film may cause the Motion Picture Academy to finally recognize Liv Ullmann's talent
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