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Sweden 1970
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
101 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Passion Of Anna

As with much of Bergman’s work of the '70s The Passion Of Anna, the story of an existentially-alienated male. Andreas (Max von Sydow). living on a small barren island, is closely autobiographical and was part of a triptych of films (Hour Of The Wolf,1967, and Shame,1968,being its companions) with von Sydow and Ullman in the leads and shot in Berman's home, the island of Fårö 

As Bergman made his home on a  small barren island so does his stand-in, Andreas, whilst his then partner Liv Ullmann plays Anna. a woman who drifts into Andreas's life and for a time brings him into contact with other people. Needless to say the outcome is not a happy one in what becomes a kind of waking nightmare for Andreas and even for Bergman a bleak account of humanity.All the characters (the other two main players being Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson) are living are in various states of denial, desperation, cynicism and other less than desirable conditions whilst the (unseen) locals hound an innocent man to his death, wrongly believing him to be a torturer of animals.

The film, Bergman's first drama in colour, cuts away from the fictional story for four short interviews with actors who reflect on their characters. Bibi Andersson’s and Liv Ullmann’s were improvised, while those of Max von Sydow and Erland Josephson were scripted. There is no apparent advantage to this and the fictional story stands on its own with Bergman as usual employing a variety of formal techniques to suggest his characters' painful inner worlds. 

DVD Extras: Original Story Reading by Elliot Gould: "Disintegration of Passion" featurette: Interviews with Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson; Audio Commentary by Bergman biographer, Marc Gervais; Photo Gallery; Original Theatrical Trailer.

The film is available as part of a handsome 5 DVD box set in Shock's Distinction Series. Other films included are The Hour Of the Wolf, Shame and The Serpent’s Egg; whilst the 5th DVD has a suite of feature length documentaries about the director and his work.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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