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Shame (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on January 2, 2010

Here’s Bergman stretching his reach a little further with his first, and I believe only, film about war.  War was on his mind at this time; you can see glimpses of it in The Silence and Persona, and here we have a whole film devoted to the subject.  And in conjunction with that, it’s one of the very few Bergman films to feature guns prominently.  Firearms make brief appearances in Winter Light and Sawdust and Tinsel (and in High Tension, with inept hilarity) but it’s nothing compared to most American films, which give you the impression that the majority of the populace is packin’ heat.  It feels a bit silly sometimes to speak of “overlooked” Bergman films, since he’s so highly regarded and so much of his work is canonical.  But I really wish this one got a little more attention; it’s one of my favorites, and one of the best anti-war films I can think of.  He wasn’t too happy with the script, and felt the first part goes on too long, but I don’t have a problem with it.  I think establishing the marital conflict adds an extra layer, as the story is really about several types of war: the geopolitical, the bureaucratic, the internal, and the intrapersonal.  Max Von Sydow is the classic Bergman ineffectual man.  Ingmar’s protagonists are never the alpha male… if anything, the alpha male is the villain.  And for Liv Ullmann, this film helped to spark a lifetime dedication to humanitarian efforts.  Rating: 10

IMDb
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