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Face to Face (1976)

Ansikte mot ansikte (original title)
A married couple of psychiatrists has their relationship tested when one suffers a mental breakdown.


Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Liv Ullmann ... Dr. Jenny Isaksson
Erland Josephson ... Dr. Tomas Jacobi
Aino Taube ... The Grandmother
Gunnar Björnstrand ... The Grandfather
Kristina Adolphson ... Nurse Veronica
Marianne Aminoff ... Jenny's Mother
Gösta Ekman ... Mikael Strömberg
Helene Friberg Helene Friberg ... Anna, Jenny's Daughter
Ulf Johansson ... Helmuth Wankel (as Ulf Johanson)
Sven Lindberg ... Jenny's Husband
Jan-Erik Lindqvist ... Jenny's Father
Birger Malmsten ... Rapist
Sif Ruud ... Elisabeth Wankel
Göran Stangertz ... Rapist
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mona Andersson Mona Andersson ... Patient


A sensitive exploration of the tragic irony of the psychiatrist suffering with mental illness. Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in their jobs but slowly, agonizingly, she succumbs to a breakdown. Jenny is haunted by images and emotions from her past and eventually cannot function, either as a wife, a doctor or as an individual. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The greatest Bergman See more »


Drama | Fantasy


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Sweden | USA



Release Date:

5 April 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Face to Face See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (4 parts) (TV)

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The TV version is a four-part mini-series: 1. Uppbrottet (The Separation); 2. Gränsen (The Border); 3. Skymningslandet (The Twilight Land); 4. Återkomsten (The Return). A total of 176 minutes compared to the movie's 130 minutes (25 fps). See more »


Dr. Jenny Isaksson: Do you think I'm emotionally crippled for life? Do you think we're a million army of emotionally crippled people, wretches who wander around shouting to each other with words we don't understand and that makes us even more scared?
See more »


Referenced in Three Scenes with Ingmar Bergman (1975) See more »


Fantasy in C-minor, K.475
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Käbi Laretei
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User Reviews

piercing, hardcore psychological drama-horror with Bergman-Ullman in full powers
11 April 2012 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Hey, it's Bergman PLUS Liv Ullmann, the greatest actress on the planet, and she's playing a psychiatric doctor who is slowly but very surely going wholly bonkers. Scenes carry depth and anxiety and a sense that things can come apart even when things seem serene - and when it gains momentum near the end, it's a wonder to behold. What's not to love?

Actually, I will be critical of one scene - in the 2nd half of the film, Bergman puts Jenny, his protagonist, into a double-state (hey, why not when it's a psychological thing) as she is about to, and does, a suicide attempt and recovers in the hospital and then goes into dream states. Most of these dream scenes are effective in depicting a mind at battle with itself and the personal demons of old coming back in full force (two such scenes are when Jenny confronts her parents, a back and forth *true* Love/Hate scene that is staggering, and another where she is surrounded by her patients in a room, one of them her grandfather who says flat out he's afraid of dying, to which she responds 'Just count to ten, and if you're still alive... count to ten again', which is great).

However, there is a scene that is very heavy-handed to me - yes, even for Bergman - where he has his leading lady see herself in a casket, the casket is closed shut as she is yelling and banging on the door, and then the casket is set on fire as Outside Jenny laughs. To me, this just made me go "Really, Ingmar, you're gonna go there?" But that's nitpicking when in the midst of a master at work, and boyo-boy it is a master at a career peak - given a boost by Ullmann, who starts out pretty sweet and 'normal', and then her character goes through a traumatic event (an attempted rape), but we learn that this is not even what makes her go insane - far from it, that's just the icing on the Crazy Cake. As Bergman delves deep into this woman's psychosis, it reveals how harrowing it can get, but also, ultimately, how important it is to live and to try to find some semblance of peace. Love, ultimately, is the goal, to find some caring and harmony in life while we're here.

If nothing else, the scene where Ullmann finally unloads her personal and mental baggage on a bewildered but patient and understanding Erland Josephsson should've gotten her TEN Oscars by itself. I rarely say this, but God bless Liv Ullmann, and Dog bless Ingmar Bergman. ;)

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