While writing a screenplay about infidelity, elderly film director Bergman converses with an actress in an effort to help create the character of Marianne. Within his screenplay, successful actress Marianne is happily married to Markus, a conductor. They have a nine-year old daughter, Isabelle. Markus' best friend is David. Twice divorced, David is often at Marianne and Markus' apartment, and he is Isabelle's favorite storyteller. One night, while Markus is away, David visits the flat as usual. But something changes and what was once a safe, platonic friendship between Marianne and David is suddenly altered. Marianne now sees him in a different light, and finds him both sexually and emotionally attractive. Marianne enters into an affair with David, jeopardizing and ultimately losing her husband while painfully hurting her young daughter.
This is my first Bergman film so I'm unable to draw comparisons with any of his other generally acclaimed titles, yet on it's own I was really astounded by this film and compelled to watch it through it's developing themes and twists and turns despite it's somewhat slow beginnings.
It revolves around changing relationships of four main characters - a family of three and a family friend in a non straightforward manner, seen through the eyes of an old man conversing with a female akin to a psychologists office for the most part. It is very honest and harrowing in parts, not least due to the fact that new leads and changes usually in the form of unpleasantness crop up throughout and when least expected. The actors give good solid performances to the extent you may begin to really detest them at times - yet when it comes close to the limit of endurance the pace changes to some evidence of love and some scenic sea shots to balance it out. It is very mysterious and suspenseful progressing into the disturbing doing what Closer had no hope of doing.
Relationships, control, grief, regret, compulsion are just some of the emotions and themes that repeat throughout making it a tough, draining but totally compelling and absorbing story overall.
I am a massive fan of Krister Henriksson from the "Wallander" series. Had to input a code into my dvd player as this film works in a different region to the usual uk one, but was fine after the code was input. Enjoyed the film but much prefer Krister playing Kurt Wallander. The film is recorded in Swedish with English sub-titles