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Passion of Anna


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Product Details

  • Actors: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Erik Hell
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Lars-Owe Carlberg
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish, Swedish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Fox Video
  • Release Date: Feb. 10 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YEEH6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,103 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 3 2012
Format: DVD
This film represents some remarkable changes for Bergman; using color
in as careful and striking away as had been using black and white, and
a looser, less astringent feel to the story telling (indeed, this was
the first film where he experimented with letting his actors
improvise). The film feels more human, the edges softer. On the other
hands, the themes are classic middle period Bergman ' lies vs., truth,
hope vs. despair, etc. And on a plot level there are some interesting
echoes of 'Persona' in both its confused identities and Godard like
interruptions, but in a much subtler more smoothly integrated style.

I found the wonderful acting and fascinating film-making choices
overrode the problem of distance I feel with some of Bergman's early
and middle work. I always admire the films; the bravery, the acting,
the style, the deepness of their ideas, the complete lack of
compromise. But sometimes I just don't feel as drawn in on a visceral
level.

The story; four people on an island; an ex'criminal hiding from
society, an architect with disdain for humanity and his fragile,
insomniac wife, and their friend Anna whose husband and child died in a
car wreck which left her with a limp all end up having their lives
intertwine, leading to revelations and the stripping away of
self-delusions.

The title 'The Passion of Anna' was an invention of the US distributor,
over Bergman's favored 'A Passion'. This is a case where a wrong title
can seriously effect one's perception of a film, since Anna is really a
supporting character.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The movie itself is fascinating but the transfer is so-so. I don't know if it's a problem with my copy but the image is not
centered (I had to rotate the image).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4 2004
Format: DVD
People who aren't "turned off" & disgusted by the current state of the world (enviromentally, politically, culturally, sociologically, etc.) will immediately understand this film and appreciate its beauty! Upon the first time seeing it, I felt it was unfocused and confused. The second time, when it occured to me that these people were living in front of the backdrop of something emotionally emasculating (random slaughtering, War, whatever you want to supplement), I realized what a masterpiece this film is. That uneasy feeling that life is unraveling all around you, that human beings are destroying each other, even though you don't directly see it...Bergman captures that feeling beautifully.
The interviews in the film bothered me for a while, but then I started to view them (and commend Bergman's brillance) as Brechtian distancing effects, as if Bergman is saying: "yes, live vicariously through these people, but after all they're just characters representing something, but they are NOT these people, so what???". Fantastic!
If you don't already own this and you love Bergman, what's wrong with you???
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Apocalyptic Bergman. Sept. 6 2001
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on Amazon.com
'The Passion of Anna' sometimes feels like a compendium of Bergman films, such as 'The Seventh Seal' (Max Von Sydow struggling to find meaning in an apocalyptic environment), 'Persona' (Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson as two women suffering on a remote island) and 'Hour of the Wolf' (Von Sydow, living with Ullmann on a remote island, tempted by sophisticated strangers led by Erland Josephson).
But though the film deals with the many of those films' themes - emotional violence, power mind-games, dissatisfaction, ennui, exile - it somehow seems lighter, less like spending two hours on a (nerve) rack. This may be because though the title refers to two kinds of passion - an overwhelming love for or interest in something, and a journey of trials and sufferings leading to some kind of redemption - it features a hero who is removed from either.
A gruesome mystery element soon intrudes, as an unknown figure starts slaughtering all the animals on the island. This element performs at least two functions - by asking the question, who is this madman, it forces us to look more closely at our characters; and it creates an apocalyptic feel that is an appropriate backdrop to the characters' mental deterioraton or fatigue, while also suggesting a wider, largely unseen social framework against which these isolated figures exist.
It also contributes to the film's bleak colour scheme - though in colour, the film's winter setting is all brown and grey, with big black bare trees, swathes of mud and stone, dirty smudges of snow. This has obvious symbolic value - just as we first meet Von Sydow repairing his roof, as if trying to paper the cracks in his mind; so we see him alone, sometimes drunk, in this huge, empty landscape, peopled only by dead animals, elusive madmen and an unseen mob.
As is typical with Bergman, the film is full of narrative games or interruptions, such as the actors commenting on their roles, trying to encapsulate coherence while their director proliferates the unknown; and Ullmann's monochrome nightmare, increasing the sense of medieval plague, is a figure for a malaise much closer to home.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Eros and Thanatos Dec 25 2003
By "cmartins" - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of the very few films that I came out of the theater crawling *under* the carpet... And I still find it disturbing - and at the same time or perhaps exactly because enlightening. Many of Bergman's films of that time dealt with the inherent self-destructiveness of the "human condition"; but most of them also had a plot element that involved an external destructive force: war (The Seventh Seal, Shame), the proximity of death (Wild Strawberries) and so on. Even Hour of the Wolf, the one that comes closest to Passion, has the "wolves" - the coterie that seduces Max von Sidow's character into reliving, facing, and ultimately succumbing to, his inner demons (by the way, make sure that your version of Hour of the Wolf includes the posface, "look, this is a movie, and we just wrapped it up, it's not real, you see, these people are just characters in a movie played by 'normal' people - but the demons will stay with you, cause they're not really ours, they're your own").
Not so Passion. Here, there is no outward force pushing these people - these "normal", whatever their personal demons, people - towards inescapable destruction. There is the wanton, unresolved slaughter of animals; but this doesn't touch the characters, no more than the everyday "slaughter of the lambs" that surrounds much of our lives does us except to at most evoke a vague disquiet, let alone drive them. They're doomed; always were. Nothing can save them. Not love, or the forlorn illusion of, not a bourgeois life surrounded by creature comforts, not even outburts of personal violence. There is simply no redemption.
For the "passion" is not "a" passion, but *the* passion, the passion that drives us all, and indeed all life: the endless collision and collusion between Life and Death, that sets down the boundaries within which we, like Von Sydow's character at the film's closing, must forever pace back and forth.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An overlooked gem worth seeking out July 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Bergman's "Passion of Anna" (more accurately and originally titled "A Passion") is an overlooked gem. One of Bergman and Nykvist's first forays into color, the film continues the themes explored in "Persona," "Hour of the Wolf" and "Shame" immediately before. Von Sydow's Andreas Winkelman is a man spiritually adrift in his bleak island landscape. By chance he meets Anna (Liv Ullmann), his morally adrift match, and her friends (played by Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson). Each of these people has secrets; some that will be revealed--intentionally or not--through mistakenly left letters, overheard telephone conversations and passed-on heresay. Anna's story about her loving husband's misfortune--it turns out--may have, in fact, been at her hand. Meanwhile, a maniac is loose on the island, torturing and killing animals. Could it be one of the four characters in our story? As always, the acting is top-notch. Ullmann, for instance, telegraphs Anna's self-deluding lies through the blushing Nykvist's camera masterfully captures in close-up. The ending (which won't ruin the movie by revealing) is an ingenius construction. Von Sydow's Andreas--completely stripped of his pride and character paces back and forth within the bleak terrain of the camera's frame. Bergman/Nykvist simultaneously zooms in slowly while pulling back optically at the same rate. The result is a "flattening" of the image in which Andreas literally disolves into the grain of the film. Bleak... but brilliant. I await this film's release on DVD!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Passions of Ingmar Dec 29 2005
By G. Bestick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
There's a lot going on in this movie, maybe too much. Andreas (Max Von Sydow), running away from some obscure disgrace, has come to live in a mildly dilapidated farmhouse on a small island. Bergman is working in color in this movie, and cinematographer Sven Nykvist is up to the challenge. He paints with an end of winter palette, the browns of wet, muddy ground, the gray of soupy overcast, the weak blue of late winter skies, the grey/white of dirty snow. Andreas moves through this bleak landscape with a look of stolid suffering on his face.

His solitude is broken by a woman who comes to his door and asks to use the phone. This woman, Anna, (Liv Ullman) makes her call and leaves, but forgets her purse. Curious, Andreas peeks into the purse and reads a letter from a man, obviously a lover, saying that he can't continue their relationship. Andreas returns the purse to the house where Anna is staying and gets invited in to dinner with Anna and the couple who live there, Eva and Elis (Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson). We learn that Anna's been in a bad car accident, one in which her husband and son were killed.

In an unusual move for him, Bergman films the dinner scene as pure improvisation, allowing each of the actors a few glasses of wine and a few minutes of dinner table philosophizing. He also pulls us out of the film on four separate occasions to have each of the four main actors analyze the characters they're playing. Since he typically kept tight control of the lines his actors spoke, this openness suggests that Bergman is asking the cast to help him find the heart of this movie.

Andreas has a brief affair with Eva, but both of them seem to realize there's no center to it. Then, abruptly, we learn that Andreas and Anna have moved in together. Anna's passion is for honesty. She doesn't want anything to do with evasion or deception. But in Andreas she's tied in to a man with a hazy past and no real desire to lay his emotional cards on the table. After they've lived together relatively peaceably, Anna reveals that it was she who was driving the day her husband and son were killed. A little while later, Andreas tells her his soul is dead and he can't find the will or the reason to go on with her.

There's a subplot about an unknown psychopath loose on the island who murders and mutilates animals. We're never quite sure what this senseless slaughter means, other than to highlight the many ways in which those who are living wage war on life. In his soul-baring speech, Andreas compares humans to animals, sentient but silent about the suffering they endure.

By the movie's end, Andreas discovers that Anna's passion for honesty is a way of masking her madness, and that he is potentially her victim as well as her lover. The final shot is unforgettable. Anna has driven off, and Andreas, alone, paces back and forth on the road like a caged animal. His cage isn't physical; it's the consciousness of his condition that he can't escape. As he sinks to the muddy ground, the camera slowly zooms in, losing focus as it does so, until the image dissolves into grainy incoherence. Another of Bergman's existential antiheroes bites the dust, disintegrating before our eyes.

Many of Bergman's major preoccupations are on display in this film: the splintering of personality under stress; the emptiness of a world from which God has withdrawn; the inability of men and women to rescue one another from their self-created prisons; the porous boundaries between art and life. But the tight dramatic structure of his other major films from this period is missing here. The story has a resolution of sorts, but the bigger questions about the characters - how Anna got trapped in her peculiar mania, how Andreas got lost in a fog of emotional emptiness - stay unanswered. Eva and Elis have major roles in the first part of the film, and then disappear halfway through the story. And who killed all those sheep, cows and horses anyway, and why?

You're carried along moment to moment by the fine acting and often startling imagery. It's only when the film stops rolling and the lights come up that you wake and wonder whether Bergman himself understood what story he wants to tell. When held to the highest standard of world cinema - his own work - The Passion of Anna ranks as good but not transcendent Bergman.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
WONDERFUL! A GREAT INQUIRY ON THE HUMAN CONDITION! May 4 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
People who aren't "turned off" & disgusted by the current state of the world (enviromentally, politically, culturally, sociologically, etc.) will immediately understand this film and appreciate its beauty! Upon the first time seeing it, I felt it was unfocused and confused. The second time, when it occured to me that these people were living in front of the backdrop of something emotionally emasculating (random slaughtering, War, whatever you want to supplement), I realized what a masterpiece this film is. That uneasy feeling that life is unraveling all around you, that human beings are destroying each other, even though you don't directly see it...Bergman captures that feeling beautifully.
The interviews in the film bothered me for a while, but then I started to view them (and commend Bergman's brillance) as Brechtian distancing effects, as if Bergman is saying: "yes, live vicariously through these people, but after all they're just characters representing something, but they are NOT these people, so what???". Fantastic!
If you don't already own this and you love Bergman, what's wrong with you???

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