Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: En Passion
Sweden, 1969. Svensk Filmindustri, Cinematograph AB. Screenplay by Ingmar Bergman. Cinematography by Sven Nykvist. Produced by Lars-Owe Carlberg. Production Design by P.A. Lundgren. Costume Design by Mago. Film Editing by Siv Lundgren. National Board of Review Awards 1970. New York Film Critics Awards 1970.
Max von Sydow is once again the lone island dweller whose peace is interrupted by three individuals: Liv Ullmann as an injured woman who damaged her leg in the car accident that claimed her husband and son, and Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson as an estranged married couple who live nearby and are hosting Ullmann in her mourning. Von Sydow makes friends with Josephson’s famous photographer while getting into a torrid affair with Andersson at the same time, then later falls in love with the grieving widow and mother. Is there passion between them, or are people grasping at connection in their isolation and/or grief? Gorgeous, muted colour cinematography by Sven Nykvist and the usual terrific performances highlight a film punctuated by Bergman’s attempts at freshening up the usual process: there’s a somewhat fractured narrative and the added meta technique of having his performers give interviews about their characters at various points in the action. Despite the deep subject matter, there are not as many long conversations turning over subjects of faith and morality as we often have in Bergman’s films, making it feel strangely light hearted at times (though only by comparison).