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Sawdust and Tinsel (The Criterion Collection)
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A circus owner (Gronberg) arrives in his former hometown after an absence of seven years, when he left behind his wife and his two little boys. He hasn't seen them since, and has taken up a new lover: a young, coquettish, simple-minded girl who performs in his circus (Anderson). When the the circus owner decides to pay a visit to his former family, Anderson becomes intensely jealous, thinking that he is leaving her to return to his family. "Fear becomes what is feared" when, sensing abandonment, Anderson allows herself to be seduced by a young actor. Likewise, thinking that his new lover has run off, Gronberg makes a desperate attempt to reconcile with his family. A morbid and most pathetically depressing emotional climax is reached when all the cards are laid on the table at the circus's performance.
The acting/directing in this movie is Bergman at his finest; a 'spontaneous' (thoroughly coordinated) guttoral instinctiveness is pounded on like an out-of-tune piano chord: the emotional progress of the characters in the film is at once difficult to watch, for its ugliness, and strangely attractive.Read more ›
The film's central metaphor for our existential entrapment is the tawdry circus run by the central character, Albert (Ake Groenberg), a middle-aged man beginning to feel the weight of his mortality. Involved with Anne (Harriet Andersson), a woman half his age, he's worried about his ability to keep her interested, just as she's worried about being deserted by him. A large subtext in the film is the crisis their relationship undergoes, but that crisis--and the relationship itself--must be understood in terms of the alienating existence that humans endure. "We're all stuck in hell. Stuck in hell... I want out of the circus!" as Albert moans.
Yet, typical of Bergman, there's some small consolation. At the end of the film, Albert and Anne return to one another. The circus-entrapment continues. The tawdry troop hitches up its wagons and moves on to another town, as it apparently always will. And Anne and Albert realize that their relationship is built on fear and loneliness as much as love. Like everything else, it's sawdust and tinsel. But in this circus we call life, that's no small thing.
Very good performances throughout the film, particularly by Ake Groenberg. The lighting is magnificent, and bears all the characteristics of later Bergman/Nyqvist collaborations.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I actually bought this for my son who said it was fabulous. Loved it.Published 9 months ago by Jean Wilsey
Love this movie. Its feels like Bergman making a Fellini film. I mean that in the highest complementary way.I really resonate with Fellini. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Emily B. Luerssen
That life is a circus that one cannot escape from is the overriding theme of Ingmar Bergman's 1953 film GYCKLARNAS AFTON ("The Evening of the Clowns", but released in the... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Christopher Culver
This 1953 movie is considered by most critics to be the first great movie by Ingmar Bergman-considered by almost eyerybody to be one of the greatest moviemakers ever. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Tony Marquise Jr.
This is ultimately about two very different women, and the struggle of a man to adapt himself romantically to either one. Read morePublished on February 23, 2013 by mr. contrarian
There's just something about a circus setting in a movie that fascinates me, especially when it depicts the gypsy-like, carny lifestyle. Read morePublished on April 19, 2012 by Casey62
Less beloved by many critics than much of Bergman's best known work and
I can understand why. The overly melodramatic main story of love and
betrayal in a small-time... Read more