Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You Incomplete Me: Autumn Sonata (1978) on Blu-ray ✭✭✭✭✭

Two of the 20th Century’s best actresses team up – or square off, to be more precise – in Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata from 1978. This simple, austere production peels away every layer of a tortured mother/daughter relationship, revealing decades of toxic damage deep within. The film presents an uncomfortably frank appraisal of one family’s stark dysfunction, and the bonds of codependency that ensure a continuing spiral of guilt. And after the wreckage is thoroughly surveyed and assessed, most viewers will recognize scattered bits of their own lives amid the emotional debris.

Here we meet Eva (Liv Ullmann), a mousey preacher’s wife in the rural south of Norway. She spends her quiet days performing musical selections for her husband’s church and dusting the tidy parsonage they call home. One morning Eva composes a letter to her mother Charlotte, a globetrotting concert pianist, inviting her for a visit. Eva’s husband Viktor (Halvar Bjork) dutifully posts the letter with palpable trepidation, and it’s our first hint that all is not blissfully calm under the fading glow of Norway’s September sun.


Paul van Yperen said...

Thanks for this great review. I would love to see a Bergman retrospective again. Years ago, no ages ago, I organized myself one at the University, and still meet people who remember that lovingly.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding review, as anticipated, Mr. Anderson. Your insight about the film and assessment of bonus material is thorough and appreciated. For the slightest moment...I thought you were telling me that the former governor of Minnesota (spelled Arne Carlson) was the production photographer. :)

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