Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Skammen
Sweden, 1968. Cinematograph AB, Svensk Filmindustri. 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 Ulla Ryghe. Golden Globe Awards 1968.
One of the most exciting of the many curious and wonderful chamber pieces that Bergman filmed on his home island of Faro in the late sixties, with a science-fiction element that is exceptionally well achieved. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann are a struggling married couple who have their personal crises ripped wide open when they are arrested by a futuristic military that is tearing the country apart in civil war. They are held as suspects at a detention centre after an attempt to escape their dystopian society, and then following their ordeal are left to contemplate their own personal demons. This sounds like a grand special-effects extravaganza, but Bergman’s keen eye for detail puts forth all this trauma with only the slightest obvious effort, using the moody black and white photography and the terror on his actors’ faces to convey the horrors he describes. Exceptional acting, superb direction and a wonderful sense of atmosphere make for a riveting and chilling film, a precursor to something like the more recent Children Of Men but with a higher intelligence.