Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE PASSION OF ANNA (1969)

On a beautiful but desolate island lives Andreas, played by Max von Sydow. He's alone and lives a solitary existence. One day a woman asks to use his phone. From this innocent encounter he's introduced to his neighbors, played by Liv Ullmann (a disturbed woman with a mysterious past), Bibi Andersson (the depressed wife of) Erlan Josephson (who hides his sadness under sarcasm). Eventually Liv comes to live with him, but it doesn't work. They are both living a lie and the relationship is doomed from the beginning.

As far as Bergman films go this one seems a little more experimental (I'm not sure if that's the correct term here) than usual with the four main actors interrupting the story to tell their thoughts on the character they are playing (are those thoughts scripted by Bergman or genuine?); scratches on the film; strange b&w dream sequence that is related to SHAME (Does that mean SHAME was actually a dream of Liv's character from this movie?) and the completely amazing final moment where we see Max in torment from a long shot and then we zoom in even more until the picture completely disintegrates. Breathtakingly beautiful shot.

Personally, I think the film would have been better without the inclusion of actors talking about the characters or, even better yet, include it but do it where the actors actually do it on the set of the movie instead of interview style, kinda like how Woody Allen used to do it in his earlier films. That's just my two cents. Whatever, I liked this movie quite a bit and will definitely be watching it again soon. Recommended for Bergman fans.