Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Passion of Anna|
Actors: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Erik Hell
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
'the art of Ingmar Bergman reaches its pinnacle (Life) in this penetrating portrait of fourlost souls seeking solace in one another, even as their lives are torn apart by deception, isolation and psychological turmoil. ... more »
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darragh o'donoghue | 09/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'The Passion of Anna' sometimes feels like a compendium of Bergman films, such as 'The Seventh Seal' (Max Von Sydow struggling to find meaning in an apocalyptic environment), 'Persona' (Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson as two women suffering on a remote island) and 'Hour of the Wolf' (Von Sydow, living with Ullmann on a remote island, tempted by sophisticated strangers led by Erland Josephson). But though the film deals with the many of those films' themes - emotional violence, power mind-games, dissatisfaction, ennui, exile - it somehow seems lighter, less like spending two hours on a (nerve) rack. This may be because though the title refers to two kinds of passion - an overwhelming love for or interest in something, and a journey of trials and sufferings leading to some kind of redemption - it features a hero who is removed from either.A gruesome mystery element soon intrudes, as an unknown figure starts slaughtering all the animals on the island. This element performs at least two functions - by asking the question, who is this madman, it forces us to look more closely at our characters; and it creates an apocalyptic feel that is an appropriate backdrop to the characters' mental deterioraton or fatigue, while also suggesting a wider, largely unseen social framework against which these isolated figures exist. It also contributes to the film's bleak colour scheme - though in colour, the film's winter setting is all brown and grey, with big black bare trees, swathes of mud and stone, dirty smudges of snow. This has obvious symbolic value - just as we first meet Von Sydow repairing his roof, as if trying to paper the cracks in his mind; so we see him alone, sometimes drunk, in this huge, empty landscape, peopled only by dead animals, elusive madmen and an unseen mob. As is typical with Bergman, the film is full of narrative games or interruptions, such as the actors commenting on their roles, trying to encapsulate coherence while their director proliferates the unknown; and Ullmann's monochrome nightmare, increasing the sense of medieval plague, is a figure for a malaise much closer to home."
Eros and Thanatos
cmartins | Rio de Janeiro, Brasil | 12/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the very few films that I came out of the theater crawling *under* the carpet... And I still find it disturbing - and at the same time or perhaps exactly because enlightening. Many of Bergman's films of that time dealt with the inherent self-destructiveness of the "human condition"; but most of them also had a plot element that involved an external destructive force: war (The Seventh Seal, Shame), the proximity of death (Wild Strawberries) and so on. Even Hour of the Wolf, the one that comes closest to Passion, has the "wolves" - the coterie that seduces Max von Sidow's character into reliving, facing, and ultimately succumbing to, his inner demons (by the way, make sure that your version of Hour of the Wolf includes the posface, "look, this is a movie, and we just wrapped it up, it's not real, you see, these people are just characters in a movie played by 'normal' people - but the demons will stay with you, cause they're not really ours, they're your own").Not so Passion. Here, there is no outward force pushing these people - these "normal", whatever their personal demons, people - towards inescapable destruction. There is the wanton, unresolved slaughter of animals; but this doesn't touch the characters, no more than the everyday "slaughter of the lambs" that surrounds much of our lives does us except to at most evoke a vague disquiet, let alone drive them. They're doomed; always were. Nothing can save them. Not love, or the forlorn illusion of, not a bourgeois life surrounded by creature comforts, not even outburts of personal violence. There is simply no redemption.For the "passion" is not "a" passion, but *the* passion, the passion that drives us all, and indeed all life: the endless collision and collusion between Life and Death, that sets down the boundaries within which we, like Von Sydow's character at the film's closing, must forever pace back and forth."
WONDERFUL! A GREAT INQUIRY ON THE HUMAN CONDITION!
cmartins | 05/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"People who aren't "turned off" & disgusted by the current state of the world (enviromentally, politically, culturally, sociologically, etc.) will immediately understand this film and appreciate its beauty! Upon the first time seeing it, I felt it was unfocused and confused. The second time, when it occured to me that these people were living in front of the backdrop of something emotionally emasculating (random slaughtering, War, whatever you want to supplement), I realized what a masterpiece this film is. That uneasy feeling that life is unraveling all around you, that human beings are destroying each other, even though you don't directly see it...Bergman captures that feeling beautifully. The interviews in the film bothered me for a while, but then I started to view them (and commend Bergman's brillance) as Brechtian distancing effects, as if Bergman is saying: "yes, live vicariously through these people, but after all they're just characters representing something, but they are NOT these people, so what???". Fantastic! If you don't already own this and you love Bergman, what's wrong with you???"
An overlooked gem worth seeking out
cmartins | 07/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bergman's "Passion of Anna" (more accurately and originally titled "A Passion") is an overlooked gem. One of Bergman and Nykvist's first forays into color, the film continues the themes explored in "Persona," "Hour of the Wolf" and "Shame" immediately before. Von Sydow's Andreas Winkelman is a man spiritually adrift in his bleak island landscape. By chance he meets Anna (Liv Ullmann), his morally adrift match, and her friends (played by Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson). Each of these people has secrets; some that will be revealed--intentionally or not--through mistakenly left letters, overheard telephone conversations and passed-on heresay. Anna's story about her loving husband's misfortune--it turns out--may have, in fact, been at her hand. Meanwhile, a maniac is loose on the island, torturing and killing animals. Could it be one of the four characters in our story? As always, the acting is top-notch. Ullmann, for instance, telegraphs Anna's self-deluding lies through the blushing Nykvist's camera masterfully captures in close-up. The ending (which won't ruin the movie by revealing) is an ingenius construction. Von Sydow's Andreas--completely stripped of his pride and character paces back and forth within the bleak terrain of the camera's frame. Bergman/Nykvist simultaneously zooms in slowly while pulling back optically at the same rate. The result is a "flattening" of the image in which Andreas literally disolves into the grain of the film. Bleak... but brilliant. I await this film's release on DVD!"