Synopsis by Mark Deming
Originally created as a six-part series for television, this film -- widely regarded as one of Ingmar Bergman's most powerful later works -- offers a close-up examination of a relationship as it slowly falls apart, and investigates the toll it takes on both parties. Johan and Marianne (Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann) are a seemingly successful professional couple who have juggled careers as (respectively) a doctor and an attorney with marriage and children; when we first encounter them, they're being interviewed by a television reporter about what makes their marriage a success, an event contrasted by a later meeting with an openly bitter and combative couple (Bibi Andersson and Jan Malmsjö). But things are not always what they seem on the surface, and Johan announces he has become involved with a younger woman. Johan seems to give little thought to the harm he has done to Marianne, while she is devastated by his abandonment of her. After a stay in Europe, Johan returns to Sweden and visits Marianne; eventually, the divorced couple briefly comes together, but the damage done is too severe to mend. Focusing less on narrative than on a deep-focus portrayal of the thoughts and emotions of two characters, Scenes From a Marriage originally ran nearly 300 minutes in its original television edition; Bergman later edited the film to 168 minutes for theatrical release in Europe and North America.
abandonment, doctor, extramarital-affair, husband-and-wife, lawyer, marital-problems, reporter
High Artistic Quality