DVD Watch: 'Scenes From a Marriage'
After Bergman's marriage-is-hell miniseries premiered in the Seventies, appointments for family counseling in Sweden increased, and the divorce rate swelled in Denmark
Reviewed by Courtney Fitzgerald, Fri., June 25, 2004
Scenes From a MarriageCriterion, $49.95
The streets of Scandinavia were empty when Scenes From a Marriage originally aired on television in the early Seventies. In Sweden, appointments for family counseling increased, and the divorce rate swelled in Denmark. Director Ingmar Bergman was happy; people were finally talking about their hermetically sealed relationships and lonely souls. Enhancing its Bergman library, Criterion has released both the six-part, 299-minute Swedish miniseries and the 155-minute U.S. theatrical version as a three-disc set, including interviews with Bergman and stars Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. Via Bergman close-ups, both renderings follow lovers Marianne and Johan into the depths of marriage's hellish intimacy of extramarital affairs and tacit hatred. Through uncomfortable dialogue and chamber-play staging, we see that honesty isn't easy and that expectations for faultless love only disappoint. The result, in both film and love, is imperfect and earthly. Pay the late fee, and watch it over six days as Bergman intended. The characters will seem rounder, and your divorce more gradual.