Sensational Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman has come out of retirement with a measured, haunting drama, Saraband, in Swedish with English subtitles.
Bergman reunites Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson from his 1973 relationship piece, Scenes From A Marriage. It's remarkable how they both play so well off of the dilemma that reflected on their waning marital state. Even through divorce, their spite doesn't seem to keep them totally apart, nor back together.
This follow-up from the maker of Fanny and Alexander has Ullman's Marianne realizing the time is right (over 30 years later) to see Josephson's Johan at his rural cottage.
Marianne appears to be in a more comfortable state of mind at this point in her life, looking quite well in her advancing years, less fragile than the widower Johan, who is rather mean-spirited. She talks of a husband not seen on screen.
The intriguing screenplay by Bergman really gains clarity with the introduction of Johan's teenage granddaughter Karin and very melancholy son Henrik. Both are still recovering from the loss of Henrik's wife Anna. And they have an unsettling clandestine bond.
Karin has much talent in playing the cello, like her father. And she is supported by Marianne who becomes like a surrogate mother to her. The interconnections of broken and broken-hearted families is subtly cogent and vital baring some similarity to Denis Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions. Bergman again shows grace with his aging stars and he appears to have more left in him from this biting, quite absorbing sequel that works effectively from separation and death.