Eva and Jan Rosenberg, violinists in a symphony orchestra that is now disbanded, have taken up farming on an island where they can feel safely detached from the war raging not far away on the mainland. But soon the war spreads like a disease to the island community, and the two of them, as they had feared, are worn down, brutalised and cast aimlessly adrift in the flotsam of a disintegrating world. Bergman’s most ‘open’ comment on the haunted international malaise of the 1960s came as no surprise in the light of Godard’s polemic, although it was certainly notable as a departure from Persona and Hour of the Wolfono flashbacks, no fantasies, and barely a touch of the eccentric. In The Shame, Bergman blew his once inviolable island of Faro into thunderous chunks of immediacy, flames, torture, execution, the lot. Faro survived, of course, to be the home to further anguished Bergman marriages, but the later debates were no longer conveniently apart from the awareness that Vietnam had existed and could exist again.
1968.English subtitles.Black and white.102 mins.