Director: Ingrid Bergman (1974, Swedish, 283 mins)
Reviews: RottenTomatoes (94%), IMDB (8.3), Wikipedia, Amazon, Roger Ebert.
Watch online: YouTube, Hulu.
Similar movies: intense, separation.
This was the first movie by Bergman that I watched. I really liked it.
The movie narrates the story of a loving couple as their 'perfect marriage' of ten years with two kids disintegrates. The movie is in six parts. It was originally a TV series with six episodes. Each episode showcases the relationship at different points of time, which are several weeks to several years apart.
Many marriages, especially traditional Indian marriages, continue out of a sense of duty and respect for tradition. It is not mutual love or satisfaction that binds the couple together. "Scenes From a Marriage" is the opposite: it shows how a mature Swedish couple continues to love each other even though their marriage disintegrates. The couple keeps in touch for several years thereafter and their mutual fondness only increases, even though both have moved on. As the movie progresses, the man learns of his limitations. The woman goes through self introspection and learns how she was brought up, how her parents shaped her behavior and how her behavior impacted her marriage. She changes herself slowly - the breakup actually emancipates her.
The movie has insights into human behavior, especially in close quarters. There are only two characters! Most scenes are closeups. Dialogues are intense. Wouldn't such a movie be hard to watch? Yes. But the dialogues, storyline and acting in "Scenes From A Marriage" are riveting. Bergman stays away from melodrama. His approach is humanistic and he generates compassion for both characters as they come to terms with their situation and make peace with each other.