Julia Dufvenius

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Saraband Review


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Looking at Ingmar Bergman's revealing close-ups of actors, his deftness at drawing out powerful moments of humanity between two actors, and his use of space within the frame that lends depth to the living rooms and bedrooms his characters inhabit -- look at these things throughout his latest project, Saraband, and ask yourself, "What else is new?" Bergman has been perfecting his craft for over 50 years, and his latest offering is a sequel or epilogue to his Scenes from a Marriage (1974). Even as you're amazed at Bergman's commitment to his craft, you're also wondering whether he's truly offering anything new.

Watching Saraband, occasionally amazed by its power and beauty, I also grew frustrated because it's his same long, slow walk towards personal annihilation, this time simply reprising the characters of contemplative Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and crotchety Johan (Erland Josephson), an ex-married couple that may still have feelings for each other. Predictably, Ullmann and Josephson are brilliant, and suggest tremendous intimacy and depth, humor and hurt. Marianne shows up at Johan's cottage, not quite knowing why. He's still the same mouthy, sensitive, soul-constricted (and often funny) curmudgeon he was 30 years ago. She's still Liv Ullmann, Bergman's luminous object within the frame.

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