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Oväder (Storm)

Posted by martinteller on May 14, 2013

An elderly gentleman (Uno Henning) lives alone with his maid Louise (Mona Malm).  He spends his days chatting with the confectioner (John Elfström) who lives and works downstairs, playing chess with his brother Karl Fredrick (Ingvar Kjellson), and content with his memories.  His young wife Gerda (Gunnel Broström) ran out on him five years ago, taking their young daughter with her.  Now, unbeknownst to the gentleman, she’s back… and living in the upstairs apartment with the child and her new husband.  When Gerda finally faces the man, sparks will fly and old wounds will be reopened.

Yet another Strindberg play directed by Ingmar Bergman for television.  This one feels the closest to Bergman’s own sensibilities.  Henning’s character has constructed his own little world around him, preferring to bask in the past rather than face the humiliation of his reality.  When forced to confront his situation and relive the sour parts of his history that he’d buried, bitterness and pettiness rise quickly to the surface.  The conversation between him and Gerda is a verbal sparring game, an exchange of hurts.

Although some of the actors had minor roles in a few Bergman films, none from his usual cinematic stable are present.  However, there are all very fine performances, especially Henning who works on different layers of self-delusion and keeping up appearances.  As with most of Bergman’s televised theatre works, the production is a bit too stagey for my tastes, but that’s a matter of personal preferences.  The camera blocking is thoughtful and provides some good close-ups.

The “storm” metaphor is way too obvious, but otherwise this is a compelling work with strong acting.  Rating: Very Good (80)


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