Saraband by Ingmar Bergman

I believe that every single movie is worth watching. There is something to learn from everything. Some movies are better than others in the respect that they help the artform evolve. These must be seen in order to achieve cinematic literacy. But most movies simply quote from the general cinematic grammar, they are not as interesting. I wish to warn you about these.

This one has some historical value. It is Bergman’s last movie.

Bergman gives us people playing stage actors. He believes the cinema is a bastard child of the theater. Fair enough. Cassavetes was much better in this respect, he gave us good stage actors playing people, something that had never been done cinematically. Bergman came very close to that in Scenes From A Marriage. It had what this lacks, a youthful exuberance in the personification.

So what we have here is a movie about an old cottage house. There are several characters living in this house and they are all related by blood or their past history. They also have an incredible ability to reflect on themselves, very aware of what they feel, even in confusion.

Herzog once said that Bergman used the human face as landscapes. This is very true. Nothing new here. And that’s a sad shame.

Cinema has much more power than this. This is bookish.

Try to avoid this at all costs.


Categories: Notes

1 reply »

  1. I couldn’t disagree with you more. I found “Saraband” to be a powerful, strong movie. Beneath its “theatrical” surface lies a compelling story. It is not theatrical in the sense of being false, but of being dramatic. It takes its time, doesn’t let us judge too quickly, but neither does it leave us in the void of so much pretensious (mainly European) cinema. And, contrary to Dogville (and I know you disagree), the characters here are true, not schematic, they hesitate, they have lives of their own, not just diagrams and vectors that make the Dogville characters so predictable and flat.

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