In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.
During civil war, two musicians retreat to a rural island to farm. They are apolitical; a neighbor sometimes gives them a fish; wine is a luxury. They love each other, but there are problems: the war upsets Jan, he is weepy, too sensitive; Eva wants children, he does not. The war suddenly arrives: rebels attack, neighbors die. When the other side restores order, Jan and Eva are arrested as collaborators. After frightening and roughing them up, the local colonel releases them; then he begins appearing at their farmhouse: to talk or to pursue Eva? He gives her money. The rebels return; chaos ensues. Jan becomes violent and murderous; they flee. Can they escape? If so, to what?Written by
Although generally regarded as one of Ingmar Bergman's finest films, the director himself was largely unhappy with the film. In his book "Images: My Life in Film", Bergman wrote that he felt the script was uneven, resulting in a poor first half. See more »
Considering the bomb explosions near the house and the greenhouse, it is odd that some many glass windows are still present later. See more »
Sometimes everything seems just like a dream. It's not my dream, it's somebody else's. But I have to participate in it. How do you think someone who dreams about us would feel when he wakes up. Feeling ashamed?
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Bergman's Skammen is one of the most realistic depictions of war ever set to film. This is not an action film by any means, though the pacing is faster and there is most action than in most any other Bergman movie. Nor is this a romanticisation of war or patriotism, unlike most war movies. In fact, the gritty realism and the deliberate ambiguity of the character's loyalties has a very contemporary feel.
Skammen is a darkly lit movie, that should be watched at night, so as to let it work it's magic. Many of the effects are conveyed indirectly, but so effectively that some scenes compete in intensity to a contemporary, insanely huge budget film like Saving Private Ryan. Of course, the action in Skammen is on a much smaller scale but it is impressive none-the-less.
While the film-making style feels contemporary, the setting of the film feels timeless and placeless. The war-torn countryside, and even the yet intact provincial hamlet could be anywhere, any time. And this film is not so much about specific historical events, with specific names and dates, but about universal human reactions to adversity and chaos.
The acting in Skammen, though typically impressive from Ullman and Sydow, is not of primary importance in this film, unlike most other Bergman movies. Through much of the film they are spectators, much as we are. Bergman has the war imposed on them, and through them on the audience, and their reaction is perhaps what any of our reactions might be.
Highly recommended. 10/10
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