A devoted wife is visited by her mother, a successful concert pianist who had little time for her when she was young.A devoted wife is visited by her mother, a successful concert pianist who had little time for her when she was young.A devoted wife is visited by her mother, a successful concert pianist who had little time for her when she was young.
The first thing I noticed about this film is that it is, like "Cries and Whispers," nothing less than a painting. The textures, the warm reds and the close-ups of the faces of wounded souls, all combine to make the viewer realize that s/he is witnessing High Art.
Then there's the shot of Liv Ullman's wounded profile as she stares at her mother, Ingrid Bergman, while mother shows Liv how the Chopin piece should be played. It is an eloquent scene. Truly heartbreaking and unforgettable. One can feel Liv's pain begin to show itself: it is the painful shame of inadequacy and mediocrity made all the more shameful because it is mother inspiring these feelings in her.
Later, it's Liv's cruelty toward her mother in that unforgettable late night diatribe.
And finally, it's Liv's crippled sister and Ingrid's disgust at the thought that not only did mediocrity crawl out of her womb, but so did deformity and suffering.
The film is bleak (obviously) and the resolution is only slightly hopeful. It is however a masterpiece -- a film that reveals that what the world needs now is not Love, as the song proclaims, but Compassion and Grace. Liv Ullman is the only actress who can say these things without opening her mouth. Ingmar Bergman is the only filmmaker who can make a seemingly banal story into an eloquent prayer for redemption and reconciliation.
(CAUTION: Dont take mom to see it on mother's day ... unless...)
- Dec 22, 2000