• It’s hard to keep track of all the brilliant collaborations with Bergman, his muse liv Ullman, max von sydow, gunnar bjornstrand and dp sven nykvist but this one has the distinction of being bergman’s only one set in the future and/or about the war
  • It’s bleak- my god- even by bergman standards though that is an observation – not an evaluation
  • Reminiscent of Cormac mccarthy’s “the road” in some ways which of course wouldn’t be published until 2006—I think it has something in common with romero’s night of the living dead honestly in some of the apocalyptic visions
  • Stark black and white photography
  • War and apocalypse in detail for the isolated couple who are at each other’s throats on an island. The situation of the war and what is going on around them gives the characters and their relationship such cutting immediately—pending doom—such acidity in some of the dialogue—“go ahead and cry if you think it’ll help”
  • They are scurrying around worried, the atmosphere of armored trucks adds to the scenes. There are brief flashes of the couple having a reconciliation but then there’s tension again—back and forth with the spots of hope and her attacking his continued cowardice (as she perceives it)
  • 33 minutes in there is the gorgeous shot of bergman’s trademark mise-en-scene blocking using faces as structues- von sydow is lying flat on the ground and ullmann’s face is cut in half just above. It’s gorgeous- persona– there’s another 3-4 minute conversation earlier where we are seeing the back of his head and half of her face
  • Wonderful war-ravaged set pieces almost like a Rossellini post ww2- neorealism film- fire abound too—the burning house at the end would go on to influence 1985’s come and see and tarkovsky with the burning house in both the mirror and the sacrifice
  • The silent, elliptically edited finale in the boat as they wade through dead bodies is brilliant as well
  • Recommend/ Highly Recommend fringe top 10 film of 1968- a great addition to the bergman canon