Ingmar Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel, tells the story of Albert (Åke Grönberg), a circus ringmaster, who arrives at his former hometown, where he attempts to restart his marriage with his wife Agda (Annika Tretow), whom he left for the circus. She rejects him, whilst Albert's mistress Anne (Harriet Andersson), upset by his indifference towards her, has an affair with Frans (Hasse Ekman), a theater actor.
During a performance given by the circus, Frans taunts Albert. Enraged, Albert challenges Frans to a fight and loses. Albert tries and fails, to commit suicide. In the end Albert and Anna have no choice, but to except their fate and reluctently remain unhappily committed to one another.
The most interesting scene was a flashback, concerning the circus clown Frost (Anders Ek) and his estranged wife Alma (Gudrun Brost).
This mesmerisng scene depicts a trusting Frost coming down to the beach, to find his wife entertaining an army platoon. Seeing her enjoy the company of other men destroys him. As the soldiers laugh at the couple, Alma face changes from happiness to humiliation and then hysteria. As Frost carries her back, the look of pain and sadness spreading across his face is tragic. This brilliant scene is silent except for the music, the jeering of the soldiers and the splash of the waves, creating a spellbinding, haunting effect.
This is Bergman's thirteenth film as a director. Sawdust and Tinsel is considered to be the most complicated and shocking film he ever made. The cinematography by Sven Nykvist (their first collaboration),the brilliant screenplay and fantastic acting, makes this an early Bergman masterpiece.
Special Features: Bergman Trailers and Film Notes
Running time: 88 mins
Black and White