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En passion (1969)
Ingmar Bergman made a bad movie
This is the third Bergman film I've seen, and easily my least favorite of the three (the others being THE HOUR OF THE WOLF, and the legendary THE SEVENTH SEAL). While I didn't really *like* either of those two, I still appreciated them for their visual style, especially THE HOUR OF THE WOLF. However, I just downright hated this one. The only reason I watched it is because I wanted to see more Bergman films (since his reputation is just astounding). The characters are so bland, they had to include scenes where the actors explain to you why you should care about them. The characters are so bland that I was completely indifferent to the outcomes of spousal abuse and attempted murder. It comes as no surprise that this film is also insanely boring, seeing as it was directed by Ingmar Bergman. Almost nothing worth watching happens until about 1 hour and 30 minutes in. Now is a good time to mention that the movie is about 1 hour and 40 minutes long. Nearly everything memorable before that point is animal abuse. For example, a puppy being hanged 15 minutes in. Of course Max's "character" saves the dog, and gives him to some other "character" later, and it is never mentioned again. So, why was the dog introduced? Oh, to show that there was an animal slaughterer on the loose. Why is that important? Because a friend of Max's kills himself because he is accused of being the killer. But why do we care about that? It barely even had an effect on Max. Plus, we barely even knew the friend so it didn't really impact us as an audience. And how was it determined that he was the animal killer? Who was it that beat up the friend resulting in his suicide? Did they ever find out who the real killer was? Why was he killing the animals? Should we even care? What happened to the puppy? What happened with the character who got the puppy? What happened with that character's husband? What was up with the pictures? Who's Andreas? Isn't Max Andreas? Why did Max have the same name as Anna's ex-husband? Are the two Andreases the same person? Wouldn't that mean that the film takes place in both the past and present tense? Am I over-thinking it? Isn't the point to think about it? Am I thinking about the wrong thing? Why aren't I thinking of the right thing? Oh yeah, it's because this is a bad film. This film did nothing but anger me. Scenes that came out of nowhere and went nowhere, characters I couldn't care less about, emotionless acting in emotional situations, a complete lack of events, and a less-than-amazing style. This film is, quite frankly, a joke.
Twist Ending Makes it all Worth it
I had no idea what I was in for when I sat down to watch this 3-and-a-half hour experiment. I mean, I knew it would be tedious, and painful, but I had no idea how hypnotizing it would be. I didn't possibly think that after 3 hours of watching someone do daily chores, I would want to continue watching.
The first half of the film set up the second half perfectly. After seeing Jeanne's daily routine in the first half, you start noticing small differences throughout the second half, which normally would just be small accidents, but are seen as huge mistakes that rip Jeanne's life apart at the seams. Small things like dropping brushes, forgetting to put the lid on a pot, or not turning off the light when leaving a room turn into major changes that somehow create tension in this idyllic world that Jeanne lives in. One scene, in which Jeanne seems more human than ever, consists of her getting up, going into a room, forgetting what she needed from the room, and then leaving. Don't try to tell me you've never done that.
My only real complaint about the film is that it is insanely tedious and repetitive. But I can put this argument aside because 1.) That is precisely the point, and 2.) The twist at the end is extremely satisfying, and gives everything before it purpose. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but if you have a long attention I'd say go for it. Just make sure your seat is comfortable enough to sit in for three to four hours, but not enough to fall asleep in.
"Most of the threads slating the film seem to try to reduce its content to inane, pointless things so they can present it as stupid. "Oh, it's just three bald men walking in a field" etc. You can reduce anything until it sounds simplistic and mundane... I could say Apocalypse Now is "just people going up a river" or Fight Club is "just men fighting"."
This is simply not true. In Apocalypse Now, things HAPPENED while people went up a river. In Fight Club, things HAPPENED while men fought. In this film, nothing happened while three guys walked, and sometimes just sat, in a field or building.
This film was painfully boring, and takes the 3rd spot on the list of films to actually put me into a deep sleep (along with Citizen Kane and The Seventh Seal). It's not that I don't like films most people would call boring. Werckmeister Harmonies is "boring", Begotten is "boring", 2001: A Space Odyssey is "boring", and Enter the Void, my favorite film of all time, is "boring". The problem with this film is that absolutely nothing happens for the entire 2 hours and 43 minutes. There is a complete lack of buildup to a nonexistent climax, in which (spoiler alert, I guess) three men sit down, talk about going into a room, and then don't go into the room.
Many reviewers absolutely love this movie for philosophical and intellectual reasons based around what the characters say. That's all fine and dandy, but you can't analyze dialogue when you're sleeping. Perhaps it was because I came into this movie expecting something completely different (it was recommended because I liked Eraserhead), but I did not enjoy the experience of sitting through this film at all. Maybe I'll give it another try, or maybe I'm better off forgetting that I ever even saw it.