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 »
Eva is not wearing any socks when Jacobi arrives but several times during his visit she can be seen wearing a couple of black socks and no socks at all again. 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?
See more »
Shame is rather unique as a war film (or rather quite the anti-war film) in that it not only doesn't focus on the soldiers or politics involved (there is politics but not how you'd think it'd be shown), it deals with its two main subjects as the only two beings that can possibly be cared about at all in this brutal, decaying society they inhabit. Ingmar Bergman, in the midst of his prime, and following two other heavily psychological films, Persona and Hour of the Wolf, is far more interested in seeing what the effect of war has on usually civilized beings, that it brings out the worst in them, and also in a cathartic way is a reminder of what is truly crucial in living. His two key actors are frequent collaborators and friends Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman (as the Rosenbergs oddly enough), who are musicians living on a farm on an island (not too dissimilar from 'Wolf' when one thinks about it).
They see the tanks roll by, and a couple of old friends already getting worn down, but they try not to put it too much to heart; there's a sweet scene where the couple just talk, rather frankly but with heart (all one shot, as is repeated through the film is to perhaps create a sense of being provoked)...Then comes the trouble, including a fake film of propaganda made at gunpoint with the Rosenbergs, the psychological turmoil in being prisoners of war, and the terror involved with a 'friend' in the military (one of Gunnar Bjornstrand's most subtle works with Bergman). Needless to say this is not one of the easier films to go through in terms of Bergman's filmography, however for some it may be one of his more accessible works. His religious themes this time is kept very low key, even as the idea of keeping a sort of faith pervades the film's atmosphere. When there is war action it's shot in unconventional, quick ways (via great amigo Sven Nykvist).
And the deconstruction of the relationship between Jan and Eva is corresponded successfully with the backdrop of a chaotic kind of war-ground where the lines are never too surely drawn. In a way this film, shot right at the height of the worst times in Vietnam, is even more relevant for today; I couldn't help but see chilling, uncompromising coincidences between Iraq and elsewhere with some of Jan and Eva's scenes with the fighters, or those 'in charge'. The very last scene, by the way, is one of Bergman's very best, all around (acting, directing, lighting). It's not the kind of war picture (or, again, anti-war, I find little of the John Wayne spirit in this Svensk production) that I would recommend right off the bat to my friends all into Saving Private Ryan- it has a little more in kinship with Paths of Glory, looking at the effects of the hypocrisy of war. But in reality, like any of Bergman's "genre" films, it stands alone, however one that packs a wallop for the art-house crowd.
15 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this