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Passion of Anna

Liv Ullmann , Bibi Andersson , Ingmar Bergman    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie full of 'Passion'. Nov. 17 2001
After having seen Woody Allen's INTERIORS I was so impressed by the direction. I found out that Allen was paying homage to Bergman and at the time I was just finding out about all sorts of different movies, I was 14 at the time so this was so amazing to me and still is. Afterwards I sought out movies by Bergman but I was always a little afraid of being dissappointed (I had recorded THE SEVENTH SEAL on TV but I thought I ought to take baby steps in terms of getting to know Bergman so I did not see it). But finally I decided to start with THE PASSION OF ANNA and now every week I rent at least two Bergman movies from my library. The direction is genius! I love the way Bergman doesn't try to hype up events. He just lets everything unravel in a natural way. Whenever someone in this movie is saying something regarding their emotional state or past experiences, etc. Bergman lets their emotions shine through and he presents us with intimate close ups of their faces so that we can observe every bit of the emotions that the character is going through. Other directors prefer to use music and other methods which I am not condemning, I actually like some of the other methods that other directors use but I had never seen a movie in which the director let everything happen so naturally, as if it weren't even a movie but a documentery though the look of the movie is not realistic, it looks like a movie but it doesn't feel like one. Bergman gives us a stark and compelling movie about these 4 people who are going through the motions and how they affect each other's lives. Max von Sydow plays a widower who lives a very mechanical life until he gets in involved in the lives of three other people and they are played by Bibi Anderson, Erland Josephson and finally Liv Ullmann as Anna. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic Bergman. Sept. 6 2001
'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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Aka A passion June 26 2001
Filmed on writer director's brooding island Faro in the Baltic Sea where Bergman built his house and resides, this film carries the weight of his latter films. Perhaps making Persona in 1967 changed something in Bergman, because it seems that all the films he made after, are without humour. You'd be hard to find any laughs in The Touch, Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, Face to Face, The Serpent's Egg, Autumn Sonata, From the Life of the Marionettes, or After the Rehearsal (Fanny and Alexander was a return to form). For  of the it's running time, Anna is a fascinating narrative, though not without it's flaws, but then Bergman bogs down Max von Sydow in a long speech about the "humiliation of freedom", just after we barely survived Liv Ullmann's one take unrelenting close-up description of a car accident, and we begin to despise Bergman for the techniques that he was applauded for. It's a huge relief, unintentionally hilarious, and rather puzzling when von Sydow and Ullmann have a knock down drag out physical fight, and our loyalties are divided since they've both been so tiresome. The narrative is confusing. The title indicates that it is the Ullmann character who is the protagonist, and our expectations are set when the von Sydow's hermit life is interrupted by her entrance, and he chances upon a letter about her which predict "complications which will bring on terrible mental disturbances causing physical and psychical acts of violence". It's not that Bergman hasn't presented stories with violence in the past - The Virgin Spring features rape and murder - but Persona's reliance on scrutinising closeups, as brilliant as the use of them was, was exhausting. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bergman growing and evolving yet again
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... Read more
Published on May 3 2012 by K. Gordon
People who aren't "turned off" & disgusted by the current state of the world (enviromentally, politically, culturally, sociologically, etc. Read more
Published on May 4 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Yet anoyher flaw with the bergman collection???
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).
Published on Feb. 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Eros and Thanatos
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... Read more
Published on Dec 25 2003 by "cmartins"
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius at work...
I am amongst those Bergman fans who prefer his post-Persona work best. I find many of his late 40's-50's films too calculated & highly pretentious (especially films like The... Read more
Published on June 20 2003 by Vinny Mac
3.0 out of 5 stars An uneven transitional effort
"The Passion of Anna" forms a bridge between Bergman's great "couples battling adversity" films of the mid-1960s (insanity in "Hour of the Wolf"; war... Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2001 by Carl Tait
5.0 out of 5 stars An overlooked gem worth seeking out
Bergman's "Passion of Anna" (more accurately and originally titled "A Passion") is an overlooked gem. Read more
Published on July 6 1999
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