Donald Liebenson
March 19, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Scenes From a Marriage

Current Status
In Season
run date
Tina Benko, Susannah Flood, Arliss Howard, Alex Hurt, Dallas Roberts, Roslyn Ruff
Ivo van Hove
Ingmar Bergman

We gave it an A

Reality TV, Ingmar Bergman-style. Edited from his five-hour miniseries, this intensely intimate epic is one Bergman movie you don’t have to be Woody Allen to get. The director of The Seventh Seal dispenses with symbolism and mysticism and casts an unflinching, prying eye on a delusionally picture-perfect couple’s unraveling marriage. Its overpowering performances, in-your-face close-ups, raw-nerve emotions, and hairpin mood swings are reminiscent of John Cassavetes. Ullmann’s devastated but increasingly empowered Marianne and Josephson’s pitiable cad Johan verbally and psychologically flay each other, yet remain bound, even through divorce and subsequent unions, by their ”imperfect” love. For those who have time for the pain, this impeccable three-disc set also contains, for the first time on American home video, the complete (and even richer) miniseries. EXTRAS Bergman scholar Peter Cowie delineates the differences between the television and theatrical versions, and, in a 2003 interview, Ullmann and Josephson recall the ”fun” they had making the film.

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