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.
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.
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.
After having neglected her children for many years, world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva in her home. To her surprise she finds her other daughter, Helena, there as well. Helena is mentally disabled, and Eva has taken Helena out of the institution where their mother had placed her. The tension between Charlotte and Eva only builds up slowly, until a nightly conversation releases all the things they have wanted to tell each other.Written by
In the dialogue scene where Charlotte is lying on the floor and Eva is sitting on the sofa behind her, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the curtains when the camera pans to Eva for a few seconds. See more »
The mother's injuries are to be handed down to the daughter. The mother's failures are to be paid for by the daughter. The mother's unhappiness is to be the daughter's unhappiness. It's as if the umbilical cord had never been cut.
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This is one of the very best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen, and therefore one of the very best films.
Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullman are simply amazing together as a mother and daughter combination from hell. Ingrid Bergman is terrific, despite a deliberately naff hairdo which makes her look like Queen Elizabeth II of the UK rather than the faded beauty she is. Liv Ullman also has visual nuances to enhance her character - the glasses, platted hair and jumpers enabling this beautiful woman to look frumpy.
The acting is simply amazing, even through the subtitles you can tell. Fortunately Scandinavian vocal nuance is similar enough to English to enable us non-Swedish speakers to appreciate the acting.
Of course, it has the Ingmar Bergman darkness to it. The sister with the horrible degenerative disease, the drowned toddler, the selfishness of the Ingrid Bergman character. If you get depressed along with the characters in films like this, you might be better off giving this one a miss.
But for those with a taste for this type of claustrophobic drama, this is one of the most powerful films you will ever see.
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