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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bergman growing and evolving yet again
This film represents some remarkable changes for Bergman; using color
in as careful and striking away as had been using black and white, and
a looser, less astringent feel to the story telling (indeed, this was
the first film where he experimented with letting his actors
improvise). The film feels more human, the edges softer. On the other
hands,...
Published on 3 May 2012 by K. Gordon

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A struggle against Life
THE PASSION OF ANNA

This film is one of Ingmar Bergman's masterpieces of pessimism and anguish. Impressive and challenging , although extremely depressive and negative, it is always a great artist's work and deserves attention. Around 1960 Bergman changed the usual themes of his older films(wonderful ones as "The 7th seal", "Wild Strawberries", "A Winter...
Published on 16 Sep 2009 by Nora Gluckmann


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bergman growing and evolving yet again, 3 May 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion Of Anna [DVD] (DVD)
This film represents some remarkable changes for Bergman; using color
in as careful and striking away as had been using black and white, and
a looser, less astringent feel to the story telling (indeed, this was
the first film where he experimented with letting his actors
improvise). The film feels more human, the edges softer. On the other
hands, the themes are classic middle period Bergman - lies vs., truth,
hope vs. despair, etc. And on a plot level there are some interesting
echoes of 'Persona' in both its confused identities and Godard like
interruptions, but in a much subtler more smoothly integrated style.

I found the wonderful acting and fascinating film-making choices
overrode the problem of distance I feel with some of Bergman's early
and middle work. I always admire the films; the bravery, the acting,
the style, the deepness of their ideas, the complete lack of
compromise. But sometimes I just don't feel as drawn in on a visceral
level.

The story; four people on an island; an ex-criminal hiding from
society, an architect with disdain for humanity and his fragile,
insomniac wife, and their friend Anna whose husband and child died in a
car wreck which left her with a limp all end up having their lives
intertwine, leading to revelations and the stripping away of
self-delusions.

The title 'The Passion of Anna' was an invention of the US distributor,
over Bergman's favored 'A Passion'. This is a case where a wrong title
can seriously effect one's perception of a film, since Anna is really a
supporting character. Beyond this, 'A Passion' makes clear the fact
that all four characters in the film are working their way through
emotional destruction, as Christ went through physical destruction in
The Passion. Further, the only title on screen is 'L 162', Only one
professional critic I've read tried to make sense of the actual title's
meaning (his guess: A file number that one of the four characters keeps
various photographs, often of violence, under.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous film in a fine transfer, but a point about the subtitles..., 17 Jan 2012
By 
Richard di Calatrava (Dorchester, Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Passion Of Anna [DVD] (DVD)
...I have noticed that the Twentieth Century Fox Bergman DVDs give us English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, so that we get comments like 'gunfire', 'music', 'bell rings' or 'door slams'. This is not the case with Tartan or Criterion and I am wondering why TCF does not have a separate subtitle track for this. It's not really a problem but is occasionally distracting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A struggle against Life, 16 Sep 2009
By 
Nora Gluckmann "Norita" (Aylesbury,England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion Of Anna [DVD] (DVD)
THE PASSION OF ANNA

This film is one of Ingmar Bergman's masterpieces of pessimism and anguish. Impressive and challenging , although extremely depressive and negative, it is always a great artist's work and deserves attention. Around 1960 Bergman changed the usual themes of his older films(wonderful ones as "The 7th seal", "Wild Strawberries", "A Winter Tale", etc.) from Metaphysics ,research of God,etc. to Human Psychology and specially to describe human isolation and alienation, After "Persona" (1966)comes a long period finished with "Fanny and Alexander". I am not sure whether there is a coincidence to his moving to live in Faro, that barren Baltic island, but this was the desolate landscape of part of this set of films, including "Passion", the original title.

The Passion of Anna (Liv Ullman ) is not a love or a sexual passion, but a certain Ideal centered in herself, of Purity and perfection and in her false ability (or only her wish) to dominate difficulties and contradictions of Life. She of course, ignores the quality and the amount of her neurosis who forces also herself to seclude in that Hell of non communication, solitude and consequent failure she (as well as all the other three main characters of the film ) unconsciously search, living in that symbolic isolated and extremely sad Island, with their very troubled minds and in their need of suffering .

Andreas (Max von Sydow)is also and extremely lonely person suffering with perhaps, a more severe neurosis. He is basically perhaps a sadist and a violent and not precisely the ideal for Anna. They choose to live together in a distressing, tormented, anxiety full play. Each one of them as the other couple, "next door neighbours", is alone and isolated. Sometimes there are unbearable silences, some times they talk, sob, cry, shout to the wind in the middle of the night to express themselves and to try to contact anyway, the other person. Andreas first gets drunk in front of a problem , in second place kills lots of sheeps -blood everywhere- due to a logical impossibility to make love to the other woman who is confessing and crying. He cuts tree branches for the fire with a fearful violence that makes you afraid of murder. But murder is not between Bergman' solutions. Failure of course is, and there they go, a real nightmare, physical violence included. (Wonderful photos of faces, perfect harmony in the development of the film. Beauty in spite of horror)

Last scenes are the peak. Inside the car, raining hard, "I want back my solitude!!" he shouts, "Everything you do or say is a lie" he offends her in her Passion (and struggle) for life. Desolate landscape with rain and naked branches. She runs away, he walks to the right, to the left, to the right and finishes on the ground, being nothing more than a spot, a speck.

Sorry to have told you the end. But maybe you enjoy the film as many people do; don't forget it is always an Ingmar Bergman production ,and therefore (he is one of the very best directors) I could NEVER have given one star for this film!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ever Perplexing Ingmar Bergman, 23 Sep 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Passion Of Anna [DVD] (DVD)
This is the second time I've watched The Passion of Anna, since I bought the 4 disc Ingmar Bergman Collection that it's included in a few years ago. As with any decent Bergman, it's not always an easy or enjoyable watch, either!

Compared to the rather more weird Shame, in the same 'Faro' trilogy (with Hour Of the Wolf being the other), Passion Of Anna is more Bergman territory and as a result it sits better with us Bergmanites. As it does covering intensely fidelity, mental illness, isolation, both in the human spirit and in one's environment, there's plenty for us to sink our teeth into.

The four-cornered relationship study has Bergman regulars Max von Sydow, Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson. Ullman plays the titular Anna and who is grieving the loss of both her husband and son in a car accident. She meets the stubbornly distant Andreas (von Sydow) who has felt isolated, both physically and emotionally from the rest of the small, isolated island community since the breakdown of his marriage. A now, older von Sydow plays this sort of grizzled, pedantic and bitter character so superbly.

In the other corners are wealthy middle-class Josephson, he an architect with a penchant for collecting images of everything and photographing everyone, filing them all away meticulously. The contrasts between the two men are already dramatically drawn...He seems bored with the ordinariness of his relationship with his wife and his ever-searching mind always looking further afield, the other 'couple' here becoming his subjects.

A rather side-tracking, possibly unnecessary sideline story is one about a sick maniac butchering local livestock and pets - these are quite nasty scenes and difficult to imagine they're staged with the now compulsory 'no harm' etc, though we do only see the end results. We get an inkling who might be responsible throughout but I'm saying no more!

It does get quite complicated, especially if you lose concentration but as usual Bergman's incredibly detailed dialogue is spot-on and the performances keep one hooked. As with later Bergman's this is shot in colour but due to the 1970's period, the film-stock used and location, it's all rather browny-grey - not that that is a criticism, though.

The Passion Of Anna is minor Bergman, in the sense that almost no-one will have heard of it, including many who are fans of the man. I'm not saying that it's so brilliant that it must be placed on a pedestal, but it is a typically, intense and worthy Ingmar Bergman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Sealed people in open landscapes...", 24 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Passion Of Anna [DVD] (DVD)
Since the day Andreas Winkelman`s wife left him he has devoted himself to his own suffering and gradually lost contact with his own identity. Brief conversations with the neighbor he happens to run into now and then is his only communication with the outside world, but one hot afternoon, without prior notice, he is visited by a woman who needs to make a call.

The fear of being a failure, of being humiliated, of breaking free from one`s self chosen isolation, of experiencing tragedy and of being a genuine human being, are only some of the obstacles that Bergman`s main character Andreas Winkelman tries to overcome in this grave investigation of human beings psychical and disturbing states after having gone through break-ups. His central theme is the irrational nature of human beings, and in his existentialistic reflection of the reasons why human beings act the way they do, he creates dark and unattainable images of the souls of the four central characters which are interpreted with distinctive credibility by Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson.

"The Passion of Anna", Ingmar Bergman`s 32nd feature film, was shot on Faroe Island during 45 days in the spring of 1968 and occurs on a desert Island where isolated and sealed people contrast the open landscapes which surrounds them. Bergman is here as in most of his films more interested in revealing the closed rooms within his characters inner landscapes than allowing them to shine in the free and accessible landscapes which are right in front of their eyes. Human beings are complex creatures in Ingmar Bergman`s universe, but they are also ascribed a naturalness which makes them relatable. The shots are long, the close-ups are frequent, the mentality is melancholic and this rigorous chamber drama proceeds in line with the films eerie atmosphere.

Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) was awarded as Best Director at the National Society of Film Critics Awards in 1971 for this in-depth character drama where the directing, the narrative and Sven Nykvist`s scenic cinematography is close to perfection.
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