Ingmar Bergman

BY Travis Mackenzie HooverPublished Feb 1, 2006

Ingmar Bergman is the most ridiculous man to ever hold you spellbound. His final work in the moving image is a typically desolate gesture in which he dredges up his aging, divorced heroes from Scenes from a Marriage (Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson) and gives them the usual annoying, declarative words to say. You can only groan in recognition of what's to come. This time it's about Josephson's deranged son (Borje Allsted) and his unhealthy obsession with the 19-year-old daughter (Julia Dufvenius). Did I mention that nobody's happy? And that they drop classical-music names like Tarantino at Julliard? But as Bergman can't help but draw austere arrows around his characters' pain, one can't deny that the pain is there and that the arrows are merely redundant rather than false advertising. Allsted is genuinely moving as the man trying to keep his only family after the death of his wife; pitiful and repulsive at the same time, he manages to communicate both his need and its pointlessness as he attempts to annex the life of his daughter. And while cold, unfeeling papa Josephson is practically standard issue for Bergman; there's no getting around that this time the betrayal is genuinely brutal and completely disastrous in the emotional life of his son. Unlike the work of Bergman disciple Woody Allen, the high-cultural references don't really help the characters — they're what they cling to instead of dealing with their problems. I started this movie rolling my eyes and ended it feeling devastated, and I suggest you take that same journey as soon as possible. The only extra is a lengthy "making of" documentary that's actually about the process instead of how much everybody loved each other so much. (Sony)

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