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, ...
Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.
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.
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
The film was ruled ineligible for Oscar consideration because the longer mini-series version of it had already been telecast in Sweden. See more »
We're pitiful, self-indulgent cowards that can't connect with reality and are ashamed of ourselves.
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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 »
One of Bergman's most interesting works as a director and one of Ullman/Josephson's very best
Scenes from a Marriage (the TV version, even as the theatrical cut is still very good and worth the time if the only copy available) is an intimate, naturalistic portrait of a couple, who at first are seemingly happy, then aren't, then try and find out where they go wrong. It's involving drama at its nexus, and for those who love the theater it's an absolute must see (aside from the theme, no music, all talk). Johan and Marianne are two of Bergman's most interesting, true characters (among his countless others) that he's ever presented, and like many other film artists, you can tell he's lived through at least some if not most of the emotions and trials these characters have been through.
Along with several supporting characters, two of the more notable ones played by Bibi Andersson and Malmjso are a perfect contrast in the first episode of the series. The conflicts that are established throughout the series never pay-off in a mis-fire. Craft-wise there is almost no style except for the minimal lighting by the great Sven Nykvist. And the dialog that goes on between the two leads goes from amusing to tragic, from romantic to bleak, and with all the emotions that I (as one who's never been married) can only guess can be as so. Bergman's script would be just that, a poignant, very profound lot of bits between two people more or less on paper, if not for Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. They turn on the emotions intuitively, like they've been these people somewhere else at some other time. Or rather, the husband and wife don't have very complicated jobs or economic situation, but the problems lie on the emotional plane, and the intellect they try to put to it. Johan loves another woman, how does that affect Marianne? Marianne asks for a divorce, how does that affect Johan? What will they do to cope? These are questions Bergman poses for his actors, among plenty of others, and they pull off the emotional cues off of each other like the most wonderful theatrical pros.
It's hard to find anything wrong with their acting, cause they don't over-do it (unless you're not into Marianne's changes in feeling in some scenes, which could be understandable), and the bottom line is that despite it being in Europe thirty years ago, it's highly possible these people could be in your house, or in your neighbor's house. Ullmann's Marianne is the 180 of her character from Persona, who could only let out emotions once or twice, mostly as an observer. Josephson's Johan is complex behind is usually sarcastic and simple demeanor- what drives him to do what he does in episode three, or in four? What will the conclusion lead to? Bergman creates a drama that is never boring, never diluted, and asks us to search for ideas about love and relationships we sometimes try and push away. It's a superb, concise treatise about the nature of falling in and out of love, how to differentiate what love is, and essentially what a marriage is. I can't wait to see the sequel, Saraband, which is Bergman's (definite) last film.
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