Lyrical passionate and enigmatic faithless begins with a writer named bergman who summons his muse marianne to recall a love affair of long ago. As she discusses ideas for the story she is transformed into the main charact... more »er of this passionate and reckless love story. Studio: First Look Home Entertain Release Date: 07/22/2003 Run time: 142 minutes Rating: R Director: Liv Ullmann« less
C. Colt | San Francisco, CA United States | 12/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Faithless" is a film that explores love, infidelity, guilt, pain, and humanity. The film was written by world-renowned director, Ingmar Bergman, and directed by Liv Ullman, an accomplished Swedish actress who is also Bergman's former wife. The film begins with an old, retired film director named Bergman (Erland Josephson) who summons his muse in order to write a screenplay. At first invisible and reluctant to show herself, Bergman's muse eventually appears as Marianne (Lena Endre) his former wife. Marianne slowly discusses her previous marriage to a famous composer, Markus (Thomas Hanzon), and the subsequent events that resulted in her leaving him for his friend and artistic collaborator, David (Krister Hendriksson) who is also the younger Bergman. The conversation takes place over several days in Bergman's seaside house and assumes the form of flashbacks. The story is not a happy one, and exploring it is clearly a painful experience for Marianne, and for Bergman who for, perhaps the first time, is able to empathize with her and is able to view his own role from the perspective of detached wisdom and sorrow. Faithless remains a penetrating and honest psychological exploration from start to finish and closely resembles Bergman's earlier films in style and temperament (although this one is directed by Liv Ullman). This film contains its share of difficulties, but if viewers, especially American viewers can get past them they will find it enormously rewarding. Some of the difficulties of this film are:LENGTH
"Faithless is "142" minutes of largely dialog with subtitles. Even if you're into idea-oriented films, it takes a lot of commitment and stamina to pay close attention to this one.STYLE
This film is almost like a cinematic play. The plot unfolds almost completely through dialog. While it has its share of symbols and devices, they are very restrained. There is no slick action, or special affects, and there are no obvious heroes or villains.SUBTLETY
Bergman and Ullman are not trying to pound blunt ideas into our heads with obvious characters and a simple plot. Many of the ideas in this film are subtle and even paradoxical. It raises many disturbing questions and provides practically no obvious answers. One thing that might help is to think of this film as an exploration, or an important conversation that we get to overhear, but not as a product designed to gratify and amuse us (that's what "Star Wars" is for).The powerful and rewarding thing about "Faithless" is that it relentlessly explores universal emotional and psychological truths that apply to all of us. Many of the terrible things we do in life have no concrete material or circumstantial justification but they do have a powerful emotional one that is almost impossible to explain. Marianne has no immediate justification for leaving Markus, who is a good husband and who pleases her in bed. Yet at the same time she feels no choice but to succumb to the emotional change that slowly and inexorably draws her to David. One day she simply sees him as a different person altogether, and her life takes on a drastic new momentum. If you can accept the lengthy, conversational nature of this film and are not phased by the parts of it that may seem incomprehensible or alienating, you will recognize yourself in much of it. It is unlikely that the characters, all leading members of Swedish artistic circles, resemble any of us. But we will see bits of ourselves in their emotions, their actions, and in their struggle to explain the incompressible workings of the human soul. Stick it out and see it twice if you can. It's worth it."
One of the Year's Best Films
david flowers | Middletown, NY | 07/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the case of 'Faithless,' as in the case of several works from the Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman, the film presents a story difficult to swallow - yet necessary. For 'Faithless,' Bergman declines the director's chair, presenting it to a familiar name: Liv Ullmann, one of his best actresses. Bergman has not directed film since the early eighties, but still continues to write and stage theater productions. With 'Faithless,' Ullmann manages to bring Bergman's script, which deals with universal issues on an intimate level, to life.The narrative begins in the study of an aging director (played by Erland Josephson). The movie's course follows the recollections of his younger years, and pain surrounding them. Ullmann's direction in the film's first sequence ushers in the mental ghost of Marianne, whose significance in the director's life leaves a deep residue of guilt. 'Faithless' stars Lena Endre as Marianne, the wife of a successful orchestra conductor, Markus (Thomas Hanzon), with whom she has a young daughter named Isabelle. Marianne and Markus share a friendship with David, an aspiring director. It is the romantic affair between Marianne and David that begins the course of heartbreak and betrayal. For the older version of the director, Marianne's presence is that of a fully realized memory. She emerges out from the shadows, takes a seat on the windowsill, and begins to recite the events buried within the director's mind. Without question, guilt serves as a key theme in Bergman's 'Faithless.' It should be noted that the movie's situations do not deviate far from actual experiences in Bergman's own life. Ullmann depicts issue of infidelity and regret, the core of this story, with impeccable honesty. While many movies dealing with infidelity handle the subject matter in a light-handed tone, 'Faithless' refuses to ignore the sensitive nature of the subject. One might be curious as to which direction the movie's sympathy intends to lean. Some might argue that Faithless lacks a single 'likeable' character. Marianne, Markus, and David all commit horrendous sins - hurting each other and themselves. Yet the film manages not to judge them too severely, choosing instead to empathize with them in light of their guilt. One must feel some degree of compassion for these individuals, considering how real they appear. These are people that we all know, and these are people that we are: Flawed, cruel at times, inconsiderate, selfish, but with a redeeming emotion of regret. The movie's real power comes from the way in which we can identify with their nature and recognize it as our own. Consider David, an adulterer in the midst of an affair with Marianne. Regardless of his own infidelity, he should be so inclined to express feelings of jealousy over Marianne if she expresses interest in another - as if he owned her. These kind of actions hit a familiar note with most people.One shouldn't shy away from a foreign film such as 'Faithless' out of the fear that it may be too artsy, pretentious, or boring. Ullmann has crafted a film that proves to be anything but exclusionary - it's a movie that can useful to all, if one keeps an open mind.
There's much left to be discussed after the film ends. Numerous images strike the nerves - in particular, one of Isabella weeping in her room as her mother spits obscenities at David. This scene struck a chord in several audience members, talking about the film later. Such unforgiving and honest sights serve as the true sign of an important movie."
Ullmann/Bergman: About As Good As It Gets
Reviewer | 07/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ensconced in the study of his house on a secluded island off the coast of Sweden, an aging director reminisces and reflects on aspects of his life apparently still in need of resolution, in "Faithless," written by Ingmar Bergman and directed by Liv Ullmann. Bergman is the name of the director, played by Erland Josephson, who engages in a fantasy conversation with a woman named Marianne (Lena Endre), who confesses to him her affair, after eleven years of marriage, with a man named David (Krister Henriksson), the best friend of her husband, Markus (Thomas Hanzon). Through their conversations, as well as scenes depicting particular episodes from her life-- beginning with the initial encounter with David-- we learn the intimate details of Marianne's life, as well as Markus' and their young daughter's, Isabelle (Michelle Gylemo) and, of course, David's. It's an intense, engrossing character study that examines the weaknesses and foibles of human nature to which we are all susceptible. It's a story that is, by turns, grim and thoughtful, at times poignant, while at other moments distressing, as it reflects the myriad emotional levels to which the human condition is prone at any given time. As the story progresses, it becomes impossible to distance yourself from the characters involved in the drama, for there is so much about them with which anyone in the audience will be readily able to identify; not necessarily with the infidelities, but grounded in the choices we all must make throughout our lives and the consequences thereof, and upon which a film like this precipitates rumination. As with all of the films Bergman has written and/or directed during his career, it is a pensive, thought-provoking incursion into reality. As she proved with her directorial debut of the 1997 film "Private Confessions," also scripted by Bergman, Liv Ullmann is more than up to the formidable task of bringing Bergman's story to the screen. Her style of directing is similar to Bergman's, as could be expected-- their close working and personal relationship has spanned more than thirty years-- but her approach is perhaps a bit softer than his, and uniquely her own. In the final analysis, any similarities are primarily due to the story, which lends itself to the style Bergman perfected and upon which Ullmann certainly draws. It's not so much a matter of imitation as it is of following an intrinsic pattern conducive to the storytelling, and Ullmann has an innate sensitivity to the material that translates into the presentation of the drama and elicits the necessary sympathy and compassion from the audience that enhances the impact of it. Like Bergman, she uses the camera to help capture the sense of the drama visually, which at times creates an almost ethereal, poetic atmosphere that contrasts so well with the more stoic aspects of the story. Ullmann has an excellent sense of rhythm, and the pace of the film allows the viewer time to assimilate the many nuances of emotion expressed through the characters. Lena Endre gives a remarkable performance as Marianne, infusing a passion into the character that makes it ring so true to life, and it's one of the strengths of the film. She bares Marianne's soul, leaving no question as to the inner turmoil with which she must cope, and it reflects in Bergman's character as well; through her struggles we also feel the remorse of Bergman's character, and upon reflection it makes you realize how effective Josephson is in the role of Bergman. For it is in his subtle reactions to the phantom Marianne, and in his silent ruminations, that we learn so much about all that has transpired in their lives. Henriksson gives a notable performance as well, deftly exposing the complexities of the character that lie beneath the somewhat reserved exterior of the man, while Hanzon is effective as Markus, as is Gylemo as the young Isabelle. With "Faithless," Ullmann firmly establishes her mark as an artist of extraordinary vision and sense of reality. Her collaboration with Ingmar Bergman is a cinematic triumph, and we can only hope that there will be more to follow, for with every film they make, another chapter is written in the Book of Life."
Swedish Love Affair...
eurotrashgirl | 12/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A crushing, atmospheric tale of infidelity from writer Ingmar Bergman and director (and former Bergman protege), Liv Ullman. [Not to be confused with the forthcoming American release, 'Unfaithful,' with Richard Gere and Diane Lane].Lena Endre is wonderful and warm here as Marianne. She is so fallible and human that we relate to her instantly. Her journey from faithful wife to one in the midst of a full-blown affair to a heartbroken wife and mother dealing with the consequences of her actions is heart-breaking.The other actors here are exceptional too, especially Erland Josephson as Bergman, the old man by the sea (a character based on Ingmar Bergman himself), and the little girl playing the daughter.Faithless has echoes of the French film 'An Affair of Love,' (in its use of colors and atmosphere, and the exploration of new lovers embarking together into a new passion), but Faithless deals boldly with marital infidelity, instead of just a 'simple' love affair.This film is somewhat long and doesn't paint the happiest of pictures, but it is engaging as a snapshot of life, and of lives torn apart by choices that, once made, can never be un-made.What is remembered of this film, as time goes by, is more than just the tragic story of the characters. The scenery and moodiness also factor into the picture. The charcoal Swedish sea and sky seen outside the pale-blonde wooden windows of the old man's house provide a heart-breaking back-drop to this tale. Just like the sun-dappled Parisian streets and warm-colored hotel room reflect the new-found love between Marianne and her lover. The chrome-grey rain falling against the hard black sea at the end of the film stays with you, haunting your heart and bringing Marianne's choice and the pain she must deal with as she looks back on her life into sharp and unrelenting focus.Recommended."
Amazing....the work of 2 icons of cinema.
eurotrashgirl | 03/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman.What can I say?With no fancy talk,let's get down to business.The screenplay (by Ingmar Bergman) is terrific as always.The director,Liv Ullmann,had a great teacher.A very few times in my life I saw the reviews that this movie had...I did not see one single bad review of this movie.The worst one was 3 and half out of 4 stars.Another work of art in the long and fruitful collaboration between Liv Ullmann (the first lady of cinema) and Ingmar Bergman.(maybe the greatest filmmaker of all time.) Lena Endre is amazing on it.Is that simple."