Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection)
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A stunning union of two of Sweden's national treasures, Autumn Sonata pairs Ingmar Bergman with Ingrid Bergman for their only joint effort. Ingrid plays a mother who, after forsaking her family for a music career, attempts a reconciliation with her oldest daughter (Liv Ullmann) through a night of painful revelation. Sven Nykvist contributes glorious Eastmancolor cinematography to this quietly beautiful story of forgiveness. Criterion is proud to present Autumn Sonata in a gorgeous digital transfer.
Bergman (Ingrid) meets Bergman (Ingmar) in this fine but not outstanding story from 1978 of a concert pianist who meets up with her estranged daughter (Liv Ullmann) for the first time in seven years, and spends an evening confronting unresolved ill feelings from the past. Ingmar's been down this road plenty of times and in better films (Cries and Whispers); but even as a minor work, this is a powerful piece with two top actresses of their day. This was Ingrid Bergman's last film. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I had a few small problems re-seeing it 32 years later.
But, in the end, it is a remarkable film, featuring two amazing performances from Liv Ullman and
Ingrid Bergman as a mother and daughter desperately hashing out old wounds during a visit paid
by the mother, a famous pianist and cold perfectionist. Meanwhile her daughter has clung to old
hurts to the point of self-paralysis.
A moving testament to the need for forgiveness and growth.
But some of the peripheral story elements feel a bit tacked on, and to perhaps stack the deck too
easily to one side, particularly a sickly younger sister that Bergman's character can barely deal with.
It's a minor flaw, since the power of the key confrontations carries the film to the heights (and depths).
But I couldn't help wishing Bergman had trusted us a bit more to work out our own feelings about
two complex characters, as he did with the even more brilliant 'Scenes From a Marriage'.
I don't agree that Autumn Sonata is a mediocre film. I think Bergman did understand women well, and portrayed this mother/daughter relationship nicely. He was able to show in his dialectically opposite approach, the vulnerabilities of the narcisstic artist and the self depreciating/ martyr. They exposed themselves, faced off and retreated to their comfortable life positions by the end of the movie. The use of the unnamed ailment of the younger daughter represents the other side of mother who often cries as a baby of her back pain, but at least is left whole enough to express herself also in her music. The death of the son at age four I think represents the symbolic death of the innocence in all of the "chamber music" of characters in this film (mother, daughters and husband) which Bergman uses in many of his movies. The sparing use of scenery and number of protagonists adds to the reality of the despair here. Anyway, I could go on too long....enough said. I think this movie is worth a watch and a long ponder.
1. Life is a steaming pile of excrement.
2.Relationships are tenuous and scarring,
3.Nobody really loves anyone.
Oh well, even bad IB is better than other stuff. So, open up your best bottle of red wine, lock up the razor blades and enjoy 8).
For some reason, people thought it a big deal that filmmakers with the same surname should work together; Ingmar, however, clearly doesn't have the same imaginative, creative, historical and personal sympathy for Ingrid as he did for Victor Sjostrom, hence the flimsiness of 'Autumn Sonata' compared to 'Strawberries'.
There's nothing really wrong with it, the performances are pitch-perfect, the compositions are meticulous tableaux (the flashbacks are expecially beautiful), the narrative structure suitably elaborate and elusive. The film begins with the stolid complacency of Victor, spying and ruminating on his wife, trying to control our view of her; it proceeds by peeling back the politeness and civility and culture layer by layer, to reveal the festering, ugly scars beneath.
It just seems perfunctory, to lack passion, as if Ingmar didn't trust Ingrid to reach as deeply into her soul as he's used to demanding of his actors, because she's a Hollywood actress (despite having starred in masterpieces for Hitchcock and Rossellini). The story is much soapier, more predictable, more Hollywood than we expect from Bergman, as if to condescend to his actress, as Ingrid stands there waiting for a genuine challenge. Even Liv Ullmann seems merely professional compared to her harrowing work in 'Scenes from a marriage' or 'Persona'. The whole thing plays like one of Ingmar's 40s films done in his 70s style - he'd moved on long ago from this. Disappointing.
Most recent customer reviews
This is probably one of the most underrated movies of all time.Maybe Bergman did stuff like this in the past,but that does not mean that isn't great. Read morePublished on May 28 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
In this film, the only movie that both Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman (no relation) were both involved in. Read more
Ingmar Bergman is probably the greatest filmmaker of all time.Ingrid the greatest actress,remember she worked with Renoir,Hitchcock and Ingmar (among others) But,as always,is a Liv... Read morePublished on May 8 2004
I remember watching this wrenching drama in a movie theater so quiet one could literally hear a pin drop. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2003 by Avid Reader
I think Autumn Sonata distinguishes itself by being one of the few mediocre Bergman films, in a career of otherwise exhilarating triumphs and tedious failures. Read morePublished on July 16 2003
This is the first Ingmar Bergman film I have seen and I did enjoy it, although I know I would enjoy it more the second time through, and very likely raise the rating. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by J B
Ingmar Bergman really made Charlotte (played by Ingrid Bergman) to be a selfish and self-centered pianist, who is unaware of the damage that she caused her family. Read morePublished on March 18 2002
You could never call yourself a fan of film if you've never seen an Ingmar Bergman film. This would be a good on to cut your teeth on. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2002 by N. Kimbrough
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