Johan and Marianne planned to finalize their divorce after several years. They met in order to sign the papers but it was an extremely difficult task to carry out. Touching a low point in his life, ...
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 happily married - unlike their friends Katarina and Peter who openly fight, especially when under the influence of alcohol - but there is a certain detached aloofness in the way they treat each other. In the next ten years, as they contemplate or embark upon divorce and/or known extramarital affairs, they come to differing understandings at each phase of their relationship of what they truly mean to each other. Regardless of if it's love or hate - between which there is a fine line - they also come to certain understandings of how they can best relate to each other, whether that be as husband and wife, friends, lovers or none of the above.Written by
Bergman's original version (a near-five-hour TV series) was a huge hit on Swedish television. It was always the director's intent to reach a mass audience, but he was staggered by the reaction that it generated. He would find himself frequently accosted in the street by bickering couples, desperate for advice. Eventually, he had to change his phone number to escape from a constant barrage of entreaties. See more »
I felt inadequate at work and at home, and I was a washout in bed too. I was hedged in by all the griping and endless demands! Goddamn you! Was it so strange that I used sex for leverage? I was outnumbered, having to fight you, both sets of parents and society! When I think about what I endured, I could scream! I tell you this: never again! You sit there whining about conspiracies. Well, it serves you right! I hope you'll have it rammed down your throat that you're a useless parasite.
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The end credits aren't shown on-screen but read by director and writer Ingmar Bergman, while "a beautiful picture of Fårö" is shown (different for each episode). Bergman himself is not credited at all. See more »
Bergman prepared a four-hour version of "Scenes from a Marriage," hoping it would be shown as a two-part film. It never appeared in the US, although the original six-hour mini-series was shown on PBS after the 168 minute cut had played theatrically. See more »
Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in B flat major, Op. 10, No. 1
Written by Tomaso Albinoni
A short extract is played during the very beginning and end of each episode (it's not featured in the theatrical version) See more »
Bergman's Version of a Cage Match
After "Wild Strawberries," this is perhaps my favorite Bergman movie, though be warned: it will take the wind out of you, especially if you watch the full five-hour version in a condensed period of time, as I did.
Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson create perhaps too realistic a version of marriage in this emotionally bruising film. When Marianne (Ullmann) finds out that Johan (Josephson) has been cheating on her and has decided to leave her, the safe, secure world she has built around her crumbles. She plays Marianne as a wife blind to her own husband's unhappiness and embarrassed that she didn't see it coming, and her's is a convincing portrait of a woman whose partner has decided long before her that what they have isn't working.
Josephson makes Johan into a contemptible ass, but he still manages to earn our sympathy. It's easy to dislike Johan but difficult to hate him, so we're in many respects thrust into the same emotional straight jacket as Marianne.
The saddest thing about "Scenes from a Marriage" is how much affection and love there actually is between these two people, and how it's going to waste. When they get angry, they lash out to hurt one another with words and even with fists at one point. There are tears, laughs, reveries. It's obvious that there wouldn't be the need for all this if there wasn't so much ingrained affection between them, and it's tragic to see them become each other's enemy rather than each other's ally.
For a very good if not quite as brilliant sequel to this film, see "Saraband," which has Marianne visiting Johan for the first time in many years after each has established a life of his/her own without the other. It brings a peaceful sense of closure and in many ways stitches up the raw wound left by the first film.
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