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A struggle against Life,
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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!