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aka - Skammen
Sweden 1968
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
103 minutes
Rated M

2.5 stars

Shame (1968)

Bergman is at his best with his theatre-like “chamber piece” portrayals of human relationships and although Skammen is thematically typical of the director’s pessimistic view of humankind, it suffers from its atypical allegorical setting of an anonymous country in the grip of a civil war. With its black and white photography, low production values it is formally reminiscent of Godard’s Les Carabiniers (1963) but Bergman’s film is far less successful that the former’s marvellous satire.

When compared to the director’s follow-up, The Passion Of Anna (1970), which is essentially the same film stripped of the political trappings, one can only conclude that the blame for the film’s failure lies in this rather schematic extension to Bergman’s usual self-imposed confinement, his characteristic close attention to his actors being dissipated in creating his story’s setting but to no real gain. Indeed, released at the time of the Vietnam was the film was roundly criticised for it “apolitical” stance and the film did not do well commercially. It is one of a trilogy of films (the other two being The Hour Of The Wolf (1967), and The Passion Of Anna, 1970) shot on the island of Fårö  and with von Sydow as a stand-in for Bergman. BH

DVD Extras: Search For Humanity featurette; Interview with LIv Ullman; Audio commentary by Bergman biographer, Marc Gervais; Photo Gallery; Original Theatrical trailers

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, The Passion Of Anna; and The Serpent’s Egg whilst the 5th DVD has a suite of documentaries features about the director and his work.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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