Saraband Reviews

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David Ansen
Newsweek
November 1, 2007
With Saraband, the great writer-director has stepped back into the ring for one last epic wrestle with his demons. There is, as always, no easy outcome. But no one ever fought for higher emotional and spiritual stakes.
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
A parlour-room theatre of emotional cruelty, with all exits barred by the past.
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 2, 2005
While bringing an abundance of inspiration to this world, Bergman unapologetically refused to ignore the pain and darkness that infects mankind. There will never be another filmmaker like him.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tim Page
Washington Post
September 9, 2005
The performances -- welling, unified and multidimensional -- are beyond praise, as are Bergman's visual images.
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Marta Barber
Miami Herald
August 12, 2005
For those inclined to search for psychological twists, the film offers plenty of Freudian situations capable of provoking lengthy discussions. For the film buff, the discussions will turn to a Bergman still at the peak of his craft.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 11, 2005
A stunning and complex final bow from a stunning and complex artist.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
August 5, 2005
The performances are perfectly distilled, but the traits I dislike in Bergman are all here -- self-pity, brutality, spiritual constipation, and an unwillingness to try to overcome these difficulties.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
August 5, 2005
What remain intact are the filmmaker's unbreakable heart, lyrical soul and sublime art. So why should we say goodbye? Instead: Bravo. Encore.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 5, 2005
Saraband, flat and static both visually and thematically, doesn't begin to approximate the austere beauty of the director's art-house classics.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
August 4, 2005
Saraband shows absolutely no sign that Bergman has run out of things to say or ways to say them -- it is as fresh and direct as any he's made.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 4, 2005
Powerfully, painfully honest.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
July 29, 2005
Bergman may find little with which to console himself, but he's still able to look at suffering with an intensity that's unlike any other the movies have ever known.
| Original Score: B+
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 28, 2005
Ullmann, in her mid-60s, and Josephson, in his early 80s, still know how to build fascinating characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
July 28, 2005
An emotionally searing look at the ways we hurt the ones we love and the ones we have come to hate.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
July 22, 2005
The compositions are stark, the tone wintry and the conversations bleak. Yet there's a flicker of something affirmative in this darkness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
July 22, 2005
Performed in a series of devastating duets, it's so mature and authentic that it feels like an alien presence in the current (i.e. shallow) movie landscape.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 22, 2005
If Saraband is not one of the best Bergman films, it's a very good one and a valuable statement from a great artist in old age.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
July 22, 2005
Reminds us again that Bergman, in his camera choices and blocking of characters, remains unrivalled in revealing the sea of emotions between two people face-to-face.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
July 18, 2005
This is just great filmmaking, great storytelling, and just stays with you for so long afterwards.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 15, 2005
Think of Saraband ... as an after-dinner mint: a film that looks in on the same characters three decades later and finds their rage both cooled and passed down to the next generation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
July 14, 2005
If Saraband should indeed turn out to be [Bergman's] final film, he has concluded his career triumphantly with a work of genius.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
July 8, 2005
Like watching four people take turns trying to swim with one of the others clinging to an ankle. It's grim and gripping.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
July 8, 2005
This is as bitter and despairing an exploration of the human spirit as any of [Bergman's] films, and it is just as vibrantly written and directed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 7, 2005
Bergman has never been an ordinary filmmaker, and what he's given us is no genial last hurrah but rather an intensely dramatic, at times lacerating examination of life's conundrums that is exhilarating in its fearlessness and its command.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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John Anderson
Newsday
July 7, 2005
The performances are -- no surprise -- subtly spectacular.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
July 7, 2005
The movie's title -- a lovely word that describes a sexy dance for two -- is either mordantly ironic or another instance of Bergman doffing his cap to the eros that courses through the most baleful of human relations.
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
July 6, 2005
Like a wedge of low-grade Stravinsky, revived and performed, the movie could be considered an addendum to a looming and unique catalog, in which no work is insignificant.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
July 6, 2005
As Marianne becomes a bystander to his cruelty, you feel the pull of Bergman's craft, but also the sting of his sourness.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Gunnar Rehlin
Variety
November 4, 2004
Makes for fascinating viewing, with Bergman regulars Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann encoring their roles and in top form.
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
November 4, 2004
If ultimately the highly talky Saraband comes across as a minor entry in the canon, it nonetheless marks a dignified farewell (and this time it really appears to be one) for one of cinema's greatest directors.
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
October 14, 2004
Ingmar Bergman has said that Saraband, his bleak made-for- television epilogue to Scenes From a Marriage, will be his final statement on film. For the great Swedish writer and director, final turns out to mean unbendingly severe.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5