Ingmar Bergman's directed his final film and a sequel to the wonderful 1973 "Scenes from a Marriage" in 2002 aged 84.
"Saraband" stands alone as a drama but acquaintance with the earlier film brings out the full meaning and poignancy. Thirty years have past since Marianne (Liv Ullman) and Johan (Erland Josephson) last met and on an impulse Marianne visits him.
Thirty years have passed dramatically, thirty years separate the making of the two films and the stars are thirty years older; "Scenes from a Marriage" is one of my all time great movies and the aging of the stars gives this film especial poignancy. The fine photography and Ingmar Bergman's belief that the most beautiful picture in the world is a close up of the human head against a plain background provides us with extreme close ups cruelly exposing the aging process.
Old age is at the heart of this film, looking back on what might have been, pragmatically acknowledging the present, the gulf between the old and the young, the need for the young to escape the influence of the old.
Ullman and Josephson reprise their roles superbly, and are joined by Johan's son from another marriage Henrik (Borge Ahlstedt) and his granddaughter Karin (Julia Dufvenius). Karin has developed a close bond with her father Henrik following her mothers death also Henrik is teaching her the cello. This obsessive relationship is fascinating, contrasting Henrik's dual personality as devoted, sensitive and loving husband and father with the vengeful hatred of his grandfather.
As usual with Bergman all the characters are fully rounded human beings in traumatic situations.
The "making of" feature is devoted to Bergman's directing "Saraband", providing historic evidence of his deep concentration and the quiet calm of the studio during filming.
A very fine film and a wonderful ending to Bergman's directing career.