Scenes from a Marriage ★★★★½

*Theatrical version*

A slightly more humanistic film from Bergman, where his character are less inhabited by metaphors and placements, but instead their relationship is supposed to be extrapolated.

It opens on an unnatural idyllic scene, husband and wife sit upon a couch being interviewed on their healthy marriage. It’s the only time their kids are seen in the whole film in the background, the husband takes charge in the questions however when it’s the wife’s turn she is cut short. And from here we slowly see their marriage crumble, reform, distort and ultimately live on.

After staging a dinner party for another couple, one that are found to be frosty and toxic. The two believe their relationship is more stable due to their common “language”, that the two are able to speak more freely and openly with understanding, that this had been their blessing for the last ten year, but we’re about to see it become a curse. It’s an almost absurdist sequence when the husband openly admits to an affair to his wife chilling and calmed responses. He tells that he plans to leave for months with a new woman he has fallen in love with, she asks him trivial stuff like when he plans to pack, what he would like for breakfast and if he would like an early bedtime to awake in the morning. It’s a stunning sequence of a communication breakdown filled with a strange mutual understanding, the two even make love believing it to be their last time, almost as if they’re trapped on a slow moving train hurtling towards disaster and both remain blissfully in denial.

The film then bobbles between hostile divorce hearings, to idyllic getaways between the two, talking about their new romances and woes. The further the two grow apart, the more things appear to remain the same, that “language” they’ve developed is one they can’t seem to shake or share with anyone else. They remain hopeless indebted to one another, a marriage they just can’t desperate from.

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