Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SHAME (1968)

Liv Ullman is married to Max von Sydow, they live in seclusion on a small farm. There's a civil war brewing nearby but they just ignore it and don't even listen to the radio. Their relationship is pretty rocky: Max is too sensitive and that pissed off Liv which pushes things into a never ending downward spiral. Looking from the outside it's easy to tell they do not belong together. But that's the least of their worries though because soon the war breaks out and their entire lives are thrown into turmoil and they have to do anything they can to survive.

I'm not going to act like I'm all smart and over-analyze the movie and tell you what everything means, but it was made in 1968 during the time of the Vietnam War so I'm pretty sure it's a comment on how war sucks and even if you choose to ignore it it's not going to go away. So I'm guessing the title refers to the shame of ignorance and also the shame of the two main characters at some of the shit they're reduced to because of their chosen ignorance. But then again maybe I'm totally wrong.

The story is interesting but the highlight of the film to me was Liv Ullmann and how Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist capture her so beautifully. The opening scene with them laying in bed and waking up is great and it kind of reminded me of SAVE THE TIGER which was made five years later. Overall this is a good film especially the first act, after that I started losing interest. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you're a Bergman fan. Or if you're new to Bergman try out SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT. I always loved that one.