Scenes From A Marriage [DVD] 
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An intimate exploration of a disintegrating marriage, this powerful drama features faultless performances from two of Bergmans greatest acting collaborators Liv Ullmann (Autumn Sonata, Persona) and Erland Josephson (Cries and Whispers). When Marianne discovers that her husband, Johan, is involved with a younger woman (Bibi Andresson - Persona), she re-evaluates her life and the importance of her marriage. Time passes, their relationship changes and the couple divorce. Then several years later they have an illicit affair during which they talk with frankness and understanding about their feelings for one another. Capturing the trauma of a beleaguered marriage in painful close-up, this exhaustive study of doubt, despair and confusion is brought to life by the superb photography of Bergmans frequent cinematographer, Sven Nykvist.
Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage opens with a couple--Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johann (Erland Josephson)--being interviewed for a magazine. Every moment seems to teeter on the brink of some rupture; just as they start to get comfortable, the interviewer has them freeze for a photograph. After making some bland, general statements, they both start admitting intimate details, confessing that they were brought together by mutual misery, then cheerfully claiming that theirs is a model marriage. The entirety of Scenes from a Marriage--which chronicles their emotional relationship even after a divorce and marriages to other people--continues to have these contradictions, moments of honesty and self-deception, of cruelty and kindness, concern and self-obsession, all laid bare by the skilful actors and the subtle, constantly shifting screenplay. Every scene is a small movie unto itself; in fact, Scenes from a Marriage was originally a six-episode TV show, carefully edited down into a unified film. This is one of Bergman's most immediate and accessible works, concerned more with the facts of human behaviour than symbolism or abstract themes. Bergman understands how to balance what could be horrible pain and despair with the characters' earnest efforts to improve their lives. His imitators reduce everything to sheer suffering and alienation; Bergman sees the best in his characters, even when their actions are terrible. This 1973 film won numerous awards, including several acting honours for Ullmann. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the surface level, the film is about a marriage between Marianne and Johan (played superbly by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson). At a deeper level, the film is an honest insight into the human condition, with all its complexities (physical and metaphysical) including despair, joy, self-deception, self-obsession, cruelty, etc. Bergman's understanding of the human condition is on a par with that of the German-Swiss novelist Hermann Hesse.
The director relies primarily on the rich dialogs between the two main characters, as well as the intimate, emotion-capturing close-ups, to develop and convey his story. Scandinavian minimalist simplicity that pervades this film is an excellent choice, as it allows us to focus on the substance. The master cinematographer Sven Nykvist, as one would expect, did not disappoint us.
Bergman takes his time to fully develop the two main characters. This comes at a "cost" in terms of the length of this film. I am more than happy to bear that cost. All great masters know that it simply takes time to develop a character. This is true for films, novels, or even operas (Mozart and his use of operatic arias comes to mind).
This film reminds us that no one is perfect and no marriage is perfect either. A marriage can fail even when the two people give their best, let alone when they don't. We are also reminded that freeing ourselves from the imperfections of a marriage, our own personal imperfections and shortcoming will not, of course, just disappear. To be married (or not) becomes almost immaterial.Read more ›
I strongly recommend this film. It has a great deal to say about how we treat each other as lovers, friends, enemies, mothers, fathers and in sum as distant people not ourselves. The end whilst not romantic, has a poignancy and tenderness that may make you cry in concurring with the fragility and finiteness of life.
This is my current perception. Starting from a stiff and insipid interview, we see the 2 characters. Johan is something of a narcissist, an over-achiever but burdened with insecurity and need. Marianne is a maintainer of artifice, trying to keep them on track and refusing to see warning signs. They live in a web of obligation and busyness, so choreographed by their parents that they are under-developed as people. One of the most frightening scenes - the kind that make you remember childhood fears when your parents argued - is a horrible battle between married guests in their home, where their hatred for each other is scorching and irredeemably destructive. Their attempt to keep up appearances is as heroic as it is stifling. Of course, it can't last.
Once they separate, they begin to learn about who they are, to the extent that they can introspect. Both of them go through stages of pain, selfishness, anger, frustration, and realization, switching roles as to who is the more sympathetic or errant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a masterpiece...And make sure you read about what happened in the country after seeing the movie! BrilliantPublished 9 months ago by Mary
A realistic and, at times, distressing portrayal of a marriage coming apart. The acting of the husband and wife - by Erland Josephsson and Liv Ullmann - throughout this relatively... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dr. David Francis Seelig
Scenes From a Marriage is quite possibly Bergman's most accessible film, dealing with two ordinary, relatively non-tortured protagonists, brilliantly filmed and acted. Read morePublished on 7 Jan. 2014 by Steve Sherman
Very real portrait of a marriage falling apart. Bergman at his best. This movie effects me every time I see itPublished on 25 Jun. 2013 by JEAN
This was a very moving film. The acting was supurb and very believable. I have never been close to a marriage break up but the complex mix of emotions displayed in this film made... Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2013 by Jane Emery
This Criterion release contains both the original 6 part TV mini series, and the almost 100 minute shorter theatrical version. Read morePublished on 10 May 2012 by K. Gordon
The more I watch this director's films and similar films the more I realise that they were experiencing the same issues that I see all around me. Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2011 by Cuchillero