Although he had announced some time ago that he was giving up filmmaking, Ingmar Bergman, now 86, has directed a new movie, Saraband. A kind of sequel, after the passage of some 30 years, to his Scenes From a Marriage, the picture reunites the principals from that work, Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, as Marianne and Johan, and examines --- what else? --- their fraught, complicated relationship from the past, while introducing some further difficulties.
Aside from their issues, Johan's son Henrik, a still grieving widower, and his daughter Karin, suffer their own intense and perverse emotional extremes. The movie proceeds through a series of long, stagy two-shots, claustrophobically limited, in which the characters endlessly discuss the past and the state of their own feelings Johan is a nasty piece of work, Henrik is a weakling, Karin is a talented, but confused cellist, and Marianne, who frequently speaks to the camera, seems about the nicest and sanest person in the cast.
Bergman fans may love the monochrome color scheme, the slow pace, and the endlessly talky script; the rest of us wish him well in his retirement.
Saraband (R) opens Friday, September 16, at the Little Theatre. Scenes From a Marriage is showing Sunday, September 18, at George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre.