Saraband - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Saraband Reviews

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½ March 1, 2019
Bermanâ(TM)s last film is quite good. Itâ(TM)s a play-like story about characters from one of his earlier projects but can also stand on its own as a fascinating psychological drama.
February 2, 2019
Ingmar Bergmanâ(TM)s last feature, shot on digital video for Swedish TV, is a return to the couple of Scenes from a Marriage (1973), played again by Liv Ullmann (now 65) and Erland Josephson (now 80), whose characters had earlier divorced (after his affair) but remained attached. Well, thirty years later, after no contact for decades, Marianne (Ullmann) decides to visit Johan (Josephson) at his country retreat (paid for with a fortune inherited from a rich aunt). Marianne introduces this journey by speaking directly to the camera and giving us a rundown of what has happened to both of them in the intervening years â" but it is hard not to look at Ullmann (and then Josephson) and think about aging and the effects it has on the body and soul. (David Lynch worked this same magic with his most recent series of Twin Peaks). Of course, viewers watching the films in the new blu-ray boxset in the order intended will have just watched the 1973 film/series and will be sensitive to any variations in Marianne and Johanâ(TM)s behaviour. If anything, his insensitivity and cruelty has intensified, but it is still hard to get a read on her. She maintains her centered confidence (scored at the end of 1973) but is her attendance to others and advice to them part of a continued avoidance of self-scrutiny? At any rate, much less devotion is paid to Marianne than to Johan in this film (given that Johan is a Bergman surrogate but also here perhaps a surrogate for Bergmanâ(TM)s own father?). In actuality, however, the plot of Saraband (broken into ten duets between players) focuses more on Johanâ(TM)s granddaughter Karin (Julia Dufvenius) and her relationship with her parents, Johanâ(TM)s son Henrik (Börje Ahlstedt) and her deceased mother, Anna. In the two years since Annaâ(TM)s death, Henrik has retreated from his work as a musician scholar to take an (unhealthy) interest in training Karin to become a cellist. The real crime here is that he has also treated her as a wife surrogate (reinforced by a couple of startling moments). His weakness and inability to cope are not tolerated by Johan nor Marianne who both seek to free Karin from his grasp. But ultimately it is her decision to make. On the surface, then, Saraband seemed similar to other Bergman chamber dramas, but with the initial expectation of âreturn/retreadâ?, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. However, he had not lost his punch and the tensions in the relationships here â" and their frankness â" reverberated with me the next day. Bergmanâ(TM)s experience may not be our own but his self-analysis and skill at dramatization combine for some powerful theatre (I mean TV). His final statement echoes his earlier emphasis on the sins of the father and subsequent liberation from them, a story of his life.
December 19, 2016
master director ingmar bergman's final film is a character study that almost doesn't disappoint except there is no resolution to why she needs 2 see her ex again after 30 years
March 14, 2016
Saraband is full of unbelievably real dialogue and complex characters, while being yet another Bergman study of humanity through the themes of love, death, and human interaction.
½ October 8, 2014
An outstanding final work Bergman made for TV, but it's much too good for it not to have been released theatrically. Basically Scenes from a Marriage: 30 Years Later. Nearing retirement and hearing her ex-husband has done well for himself in advanced age, curious Marianne decides on a whim to see how he's doing, decades later, and stumbles upon Johan's horrible son, who it appears is having an incestuous relationship with his daughter, who's significantly talented with the cello and wants to leave to have some semblance of a normal life but is very afraid to do so. A stunning work, a worthy finale to a remarkable career in the arts for the fine Swedish director, who through but ten dialogues can make a far better film than 90% of the other directors out there today.
July 9, 2014
"Saraband" is no minor work by any measure
½ June 11, 2014
A masterpiece from Bergman, a reflection about life, love, dreams. An honest film about failed relationships, failed parents, failed people. It seems that there is no possibility for happy people in this crew.
November 1, 2013
You bet your life I want to see the sequel to the greatest film/miniseries ever made about marital disintegration. Also, it's the last film by the man who's tied for my #1 director, so it's already obligatory viewing.
September 16, 2013
Serão ainda uns quantos os realizadores capazes de meter as mãos numa crise familiar, mas é preciso um Bergman para encarar um apocalipse familiar sem nunca temer levar o rancor e a frieza humana até limites extremos. "Saraband" pesa uma tonelada como drama e asfixia com carradas de angústia até a um ponto a que nenhum filme norte-americano chegaria (muito por causa de uma tradição de entretenimento algo oposta ao maior compromisso europeu com a arte). Bergman nem sequer tem de recorrer ao terror psicológico para nos apertar a corda à volta do pescoço. Há muito pouco em "Saraband" para desviar os olhos do ecrã (esse é um efeito mais Lars Von Trier) e há tanto para que ninguém pestaneje perante o desfalecimento doloroso das peças num xadrez familiar totalmente assombrado pelo passado. "Saraband" decorre trinta anos depois de "Scenes of a Marriage" e parece que o tempo secou os ânimos e anulou todas as hipóteses que a comédia tinha de aliviar os diálogos mais ríspidos. "Saraband" não abre espaços para a comédia e o seu sarcasmo é demasiado ácido para enquadrar-se nessa categoria. É uma sequela, mas funciona perfeitamente como filme isolado. Liv Ullmann mostra que é muito mais uma força da natureza do que uma simples actriz e a jovem Julia Dufvenius dá indicativos de que pode ser uma boa herdeira. Passa por elas (e por uma determinante terceira mulher ausente) a última palavra de "Saraband" e uma das últimas na obra de Bergman: só uma mulher é capaz de um amor gigantesco e incondicional enquanto dois homens travam uma guerra sem tréguas.
½ February 3, 2013
Well-made Ingmar Bergmann drama chronicling an elderly divorced couple, Marianne and Johan (Liv Ullman and Erland Josephman), who reunite in many years after their relationship disbanded. They are able to get along surprisingly well, but they are faced with a substantial problem. Johan's granddaughter (Julia Dufvenius) comes to them in need of help, because her father and Johan's son, Henrik (Borje Ahlstedt) is a suicidal, obsessive, and insane cello player who is on the verge of taking his own life. Generally compelling drama that reunites two older actors from director Bergmann's 1974 hit, "Scenes from a Marriage." Nicely filmed and acted, but a bit confusing at times.
January 16, 2013
The Best Film of Ingmar Bergman,for me !!!
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2012
Late Bergman that wasn't quite as well received as his earlier films. I liked it though. We still have very profound relationships to explore.
September 3, 2012
It makes you weep, smile and think, but most of all it makes your jaw dance the lambada on the floor. No-one delves into tortured psyches like Bergman does. A visceral and hauntingly dramatic exit.
½ March 1, 2012
not up to the level of Scenes of a marriage, but very touching portrayal of human anguish, and the bipolarity of human character
December 17, 2011
When Marianne and Johan finally reunite after a lifetime apart its Bergman at his best. The pain, memories, hope and the brutal reality, just brilliant. Then the movie shifts and focuses on Johan's son Henrik and his daughter Karin. I was disappointed at first but the dynamic they share with each other as well as with Johan and Marianne is really fascinating. All four actors are brilliant and the way Bergman cares for each character shines through wonderfully. A fitting last film for one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.
August 30, 2011
Bergman's last masterpiece! I really loved this film, especially the performances of each actor. I was in awe of it's beauty, of each frame. Especially how Bergman shows "Anna." It is just as great as Scenes from a Marriage, if not better.
½ July 11, 2011
An interesting companion to Scenes from a Marriage, though not as emotionally compelling or rewarding. Ullmann and Josephson fit these characters wonderfully all these years later, but Julia Dufvenius steals the film.
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