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Skammen (Shame)

Skammen (Shame) (1968)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 4,660

My Rating

Movie Info

Shame is grand master Ingmar Bergman's bitter and unsparing condemnation of war - all war, regardless of which side one chooses. The story begins with two ex-musicians, Eva and Jan Rosenberg (Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow, respectively) peacefully inhabiting a weathered house where they grow fruits and vegetables. The residence is located on a desolate, arid island in some unspecified geographic location. Many items in The Rosenbergs' house, such as the radio, aren't functioning properly, and an

R,

Drama

Apr 20, 2004

Avalon

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (4) | DVD (5)

Ingmar Bergman stretches a classic Bergman couple on the tightening rack of war.

December 3, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite its evident sincerity, the film seems less like an indictment of intellectual and artistic irresponsibility than a quiet mea culpa.

August 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It ends with one of the cinema's most awesomely apocalyptic visions: not the cheeriest of films, but a masterpiece.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is at Bergman's wits' end.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"What a wonder is a gun," opined one-time Bergman adapter Stephen Sondheim.

April 19, 2008 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

It's pretty harrowing and depressing.

December 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A bleak parable.

September 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A tremendously profound and unsettling film about the indignities of war.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Shame draws the rutted map of war's psychology, in bold and grievous strokes recognizable to any audience, and liable to frighten and humble them all.

August 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

A powerful political statement, and a deeply humanistic one, without sentimentality or banal heroics.

April 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Shame moves in deep waters: It shows, in the bleakest and most uncompromising terms, that the worst that war has to offer is the wounds it inflicts on the human mind.

March 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Even by Bergman's standards this is a severe film, which may account for its commercial failure and some criticism.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

One of Bergman's most intense films.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Edinburgh U Film Society
Edinburgh U Film Society

Audience Reviews for Skammen (Shame)

It's funny, Bergman himself was unhappy with the end result with Shame and said that due to the uneven script, the first half of the film suffers. I actually felt it was the other way around. What started as a film of intrigue and suspense, the second half, as good as it was, became a little muddled with far too much happening at once. I think less would have been more, the idea of the shame people can feel due to their helplessness, the fact they are often taken advantage of and some times the actions they have to take at times of war and hardship could have been just left to the two main instances (not saying what so as not to spoil it for anyone). I thought the scenes with Col. Jacobi were unclear and overlong and the film started to drag. It may not sound like it, but I did really enjoy this film, I just can't help but think it could have been better, especially as many state it as being his finest film.
October 24, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

A gruelling watch, but one of Bergman's finest films. Interesting to compare this with The Hour of the Wolf, as both feature the same lead actors as artists (or an artist and his wife) who have taken sanctuary on an island. In the earlier film it's largely inner demons that lead to von Sydows disintegrating personality (at least that's how I read it) whereas here it's very much circumstances beyond his control.

Much has been written about the unsympathetic central characters, particularly von Sydow's. For me there are flashes of a good (if flawed) man early in the film, but one who copes badly with adversity. The flaws become all that is left as his humanity is gradually eroded by one horror after another.

I watched A Passion (Ullmann and von Sydow on their island again) soon after this, and was amazed to recognise many of the same locations. And then there's a dream sequence...
December 13, 2009
matertenebraum

Super Reviewer

"Skammen" ("Shame") is less famous than some other Ingmar Bergman classics, but it's among his finest work. One of many Bergman films shot on his home island of Faro (others include "Hour of the Wolf," "Persona," "Scenes from a Marriage" and "Through a Glass Darkly"), "Shame" is actually a war movie with a surprising amount of "action" by Bergman standards. Though it was reportedly plagued by budget problems, the parade of shell explosions, gnarled corpses and hulking military vehicles marks a film much splashier than the usual drawing-room character study.

The casting is nothing new -- Bergman regulars Liv Ullman, Max Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand again dominate. Ullman and Von Sydow play Eva and Jan Rosenberg, two former classical musicians who have been married for several years. Their quiet life consists of puttering with domestic chores, selling homegrown berries and lazily sharing each other's company (for better or worse -- their erratic relationship often drops into ugly bickering). But their simple world is thrown into chaos when enemy planes suddenly buzz overhead, announcing a violent attack. Land troops soon follow, posing a dramatic threat to the couple's home and lifestyle. Though Eva and Jan are politically neutral, they are interrogated and taken prisoner by the invaders (who self-righteously label themselves "liberators"). The two veer in and out of danger as the destruction increases. Scared and bewildered, they struggle to be compliant with their captors, but the unstable Jan is tempted to join the madness. His deterioration is disturbing, and the film's unresolved ending offers no assurance of a secure future for anyone.

The embattled country is never named (the enemy speaks the same language, suggesting an internal conflict), nor are the contentious issues ever mentioned. This is not a film about policy, but a more timeless story about war's toll on civilians.

Sven Nykvist's cinematography is typically exquisite, capturing both intimate dialogue and wartime spectacle. "Shame" is among Bergman's last black-and-white films, and the poetry of Ullman's and Von Sydow's weary faces is compelling even without the story. Ambivalent Bergman fans should be forewarned, however -- the action slows down considerably with about 40 minutes to go, and returns to the bleak, tortured conversation that is his trademark.
November 12, 2011
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Shame" is a 1968 movie from Ingmar Bergman about Jan(Max Von Sydow, who when wearing black rimmed glasses, sort of reminds me of Woody Allen) and Eva(Liv Ullman) who are classical musicians and have been married seven years. The country they live in has been in the grasp of civil war for the past four years. For the the past few years since the orchestra collapsed, they have been eeking out a subsistence living on a farm. But now the war is arriving on their doorstep, threatening their lives even more.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Shame" is slightly atypical for a Bergman film, in that the violence is physical as well as emotional but there are still some of his trademarks on display.("The Silence" also took place during a war.) It is still as insular as anything he else he has directed. The movie is still about two characters in a relationship as much as any other film he has made. There are a few allusions to dreams here which is a sign that the characters cannot handle the reality of the situation. Bergman does a very good job in displaying the damage that is done to peoples' lives under dire circumstances but it would have helped if the characters were simple farmers, and not artists. The emotional distance that Bergman uses to keep his characters at arms' length hurts the movie and impairs the viewer from really caring about them. [/font]
July 13, 2005
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Shame (Skammen) (1968) (DE)
  • Shame (Skammen) (1968) (UK)
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