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Scenes from a Marriage

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Scenes from a Marriage proved to be a key work in Bergman’s later career. Given the increasing difficulties of financing films for the cinema, he made a pact with television and met the challenge of engaging with a much wider audience. Like many of his recent works, Scenes was made in two versions: a TV mini-series and a theatrical feature. Taking a more direct approach to examining emotional and sexual relationships between professional middle-class people, Scenes focuses on Johan (Erland Josephson) and Marianne (Liv Ullmann), divorced lawyer and scientist respectively, who have enjoyed a seemingly harmonious marriage for ten years. Basic conflicts arise when they discover that they’ve been living in ignorance of each other and their own desires. The superficially brittle but in fact quite resilient façade of a bourgeois marriage is analysed and then swept aside. Bergman’s concern is with the gradual if frequently traumatic process whereby Johan and Marianne liberate themselves from an artificially bolstered dependence and from the half-suppressed irritations caused by sustained proximity; and it is entirely consistent with his earlier films that it should be Marianne who achieves a deeper and more honest suffering, and hence a more complete liberation.
1973.
English subtitles.
Colour.
168 mins.

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