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Scenes from a Marriage (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on February 5, 2010

This week’s Bergman involved a tough decision: theatrical cut or television version?  I prefer the shorter, theatrical version and its focused intensity… but on the other hand I’ve only watched the TV version once.  In the end, theatrical won out, largely because I have so much else on my plate at the moment.  I’ll have to make sure to watch the TV cut again next time.  And oh, there will definitely be a next time.  If forced at gunpoint to pick a favorite Bergman, as difficult as it would be to overlook Seventh Seal or Fanny and Alexander, I’d probably pick this one.  And it’s a funny pick, because cinematically it’s so understated.  Nykvist stays tight on faces, those revealing close-ups (Ullmann’s searching eyes are a revelation), there are no “money shots,” nothing flashy.  But it’s all about the performances and the script.  Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson are at the absolute top of their game.  Neither one was ever better before or since.  They go through the most incredible array of emotions, never once, not ONCE making it seem forced or phony.  I can’t even pick out particular moments because the seemingly small ones are just as important and impressive as the big ones.  They’re astonishing.  And the script is so brutally honest, so achingly genuine, shorn of any pretention or showiness and just cutting right to the naked truth.  It just blows me away.  Rating: 10


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