Thursday, March 4, 2010

Autumn Sonata (1978)

Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish expatriate who became one of Hollywood's greatest stars, and Ingmar Bergman, one of the world's most acclaimed filmmakers and Sweden's most honored director, worked together for the first and only time in this intensely personal drama about the troubled relationship between a mother and daughter. Charlotte (Ingrid Bergman) is an acclaimed concert pianist who is visiting her daughter Eva (Liv Ullmann), the wife of a parson in a rural community, for the first time in seven years. While Charlotte and Eva struggle to be civil, there is a deep emotional gulf between them. Eva resents her mother for not caring enough for her as a child, feeling that Charlotte was more interested in her career and her other daughter, Helena (Lena Nyman), who is severely handicapped and can only communicate through inarticulate noises. Charlotte, on the other hand, is uncomfortable with the fact that Helena now lives with Eva, and she is still coming to terms with the emotional devastation of her husband's recent death. Herbstsonate, released in America as Autumn Sonata, earned Ingrid Bergman some of the most enthusiastic acclaim of her career; she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, and she won the same honor from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. It was also her last theatrical release; she would appear in only one more project, a TV movie about the life of Golda Meir, before her death in 1982. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 92 mins
Autumn Sonata (1978)
The film started out so slow with almost no direction. It was not until the underlying problems in the relationship between the two daughters and the mother that it became more interesting. Although the above review gives that the handicapped daughter got more love and attention, I did not see that and even near the end Helena calls out to the mother and gets no response or care in return. Thus signifying to me that the estrangement had already been well established long before then. A portion of the text that I found most interesting:
-Mother: Leonardo once said, how did he say it now? "A sense of reality is a matter of talent. Most people lack that talent and maybe it's just as well." Do you know what that meant?
-Daughter: Yes, I do.
-M: How very strange?
-D: Strange?
-M: I've always been afraid of you.
-D: I can't understand that.
-M: I think I wanted you to take care of me. To put your arms around me and comfort me.
-D: I was a child.
-M: Does that matter?
-D: No.

I did not even get the name of the historian that did the commentator but what small portion I listened to, he seemed quite knowledgeable and with more time, I would have loved to watch it again with the comments on.

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