EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|FACE TO FACE (ANSIKTE MOT ANSIKTE) (director/writer: Ingmar Bergman; cinematographer: Sven Nykvist; editor: Siv Lundgren; cast: Liv Ullmann (Dr. Jenny Isaksson), Erland Josephson (Dr. Tomas Jacobi), Aino Taube (The Grandmother), Gunnar Björnstrand (The Grandfather), Kristina Adolphson (Nurse Veronica), Marianne Aminoff (Jenny's mother), Gösta Ekman (Mikael Strömberg), Helene Friberg (Anna, Jenny's daughter), Ulf Johansson (Helmuth Wankel), Sven Lindberg (Jenny's husband Eric), Birger Malmsten (Rapist), Sif Ruud (Elisabeth Wankel ), Göran Stangertz (Rapist), Kari Sylwan (Maria); Runtime: 136; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ingmar Bergman/Lars-Owe Carlberg; Olive Films; 1976-Sweden-in Swedish with English subtitles)|
by Dennis Schwartz
Bergman ("The Seventh Seal"/"Wild
Strawberries"/"Scenes From A Marriage") directs a
pretentious art film seeped in a suffocating
psychodrama. It's about a successful shrink going
through a nervous breakdown and recovering by
beginning to understand her dreams. It lacks intimacy
or much edification to mental illness in its
relentless pursuit of getting the clinical details
right. Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann
intensely plays the shrink tormented by bitter
memories of her past. It originated as a four-part
Swedish TV mini-series.
during the summer her shrink hubby (Sven
Lindberg) and daughter (Helene
Friberg) are away for two months in Chicago, as
hubby is attending a psychology conference, Dr. Jenny
Ullmann) moves back into her family
home with her elderly grandparents (Marianne
Aminoff & Gunnar
Björnstrand) and the familiar
surroundings bring back bad memories from the
past. To find some relief from her anxiety
attacks, Jenny begins an affair with a visiting
clleague, Dr. Tomas
Josephson), a womanizer, whose
unresponsive psychotic relative Maria (Kari
Sylwan) is her patient. The cold-hearted
affair only makes Jenny feel worse, as she
attempts suicide. While treated for her
neuroses, she must deal with her ongoing
hallucinations and fragile mental state as she
struggles to reverse her adverse mental health
with the help of the saintly nurse
Veronica (Kristina Adolphson).
The downbeat drama was a heavy watch, and its languorous look at the dark side of the psyche gets under the skin but serves no other purpose that I can see than point out how depressing life can be when there are no escapes from reality. Recommended only for the strong performance by Ullmann, of a damsel under mental duress.
REVIEWED ON 1/24/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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