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.
Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
Three women in a maternity ward reveal their lives and intimate thoughts to each other while in a maternity ward together, where they face the choice of keeping their babies or offering them for adoption.
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
The film project was originally entitled "Kriget" ("The War"). During the re-writing of the script it was changed to "Skammens drömmar" ("Dreams of Shame"). The final title emerged when the film turned out to be less dreamy than it was originally intended. 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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I don't recall a film which so deftly shows the emotional destruction of war, as mirrored in one single marital relationship. The focus of the film is the union between Ullman and Von Sydow--the two are in every scene. Through the course of the film, they experience a role reversal--one has the strength of survival and the other is reduced to emotional escapism through dreams. Both will lose a measure of humanity, but one to a greater degree than the other. The characters and the viewer go through periods of fluctuation in regards to closeness--the camera pulls out and away, sound disappears, words are lost, only for the camera to return to painterly closeups of its facially expressive stars. The confusion and fluctuation may make this film hard for some viewers, but this is all purposeful under the master hand of Bergman. I think the use of a "fake" war makes the film timeless, as relevant today as ever before, and by focusing on the human relationship through war, makes the film relevant to everyone. The pair could be anyone. The film is not grounded in place or time, but rather in emotion. A unique and effective war film, unlike any other. Bergman's films are virtuosic in presenting human relationships--that he would bring this to a war film is masterful.
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