The Passion of Anna (Ingmar Bergman – 1969) A

Set in a remote Swedish island with very few characters it is a classic Bergman film. We have a loner, Andreas played by Max Von Sidow, getting over his wife leaving him, a couple who live nearby and their friend, Anna played by Liv Ullman, living with them. It is a bit odd that the movie is called The Passion of Anna but that might be a translation issue since it really is as much about any of the other characters as Anna. A chance meet between Andreas and Anna is what sets the plot into motion and we follow the characters as they hang out, have candid conversations and love affairs.

The movie is at times mesmerizing with Bergman’s long takes  and actor closeups as they are having conversations with warm gentle lighting around them. Periodically we are completely taken out of the film as the actors comment about the roles they are playing interview-style talking straight to the camera and out of character! This took me off guard and for a second I thought I was watching a “special release” of the movie. This interesting device is very much like how the film stock seems to burn in Persona and the movie gets reset. It’s like a way of purposely taking you out of his movie and taking control of it again. The final shot is an outdoors wide shot that lingers on Andreas simply pacing back and forth after an argument with Anna.

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