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Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection)

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, Lena Nyman, Halvar Björk, Marianne Aminoff
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780021118
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,953 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Autumn Sonata (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Writer/director Ingmar Bergman examines the strained relationship between a mother and daughter in "Autumn Sonata," starring Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann. Eva (Ullmann) has not seen her mother, Charlotte (Bergman) in seven years; a successful concert pianist, Charlotte has spent a good portion of her life on the road, but after losing her long-time companion, Leonardo, Eva invites her to come to the parsonage where she and her minister husband, Viktor (Halvar Bjork), live, for an extended visit. Charlotte accepts, but soon after her arrival, old wounds and feelings begin to surface, and the film becomes an intimate character study of the life-long dysfunctional relationship between Charlotte and Eva, during which director Bergman intricately examines the causes and effects of all that has passed between them during their lives. It's an in-depth look at the emotional damage human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another, and how fragile the line between love and hate becomes when subjected to incessant neglect by even one of the parties involved. As the story unfolds and the principals bare their souls-- at last revealing a lifetime's worth of repressed feelings-- it becomes an emotionally devastating experience for the audience, as well, for there is much contained within the dynamics of this situation that most viewers will be able to identify with and relate to within their own lives. Ingmar Bergman is a Master of presenting life as it truly is; reality-- and portraying it on the screen-- is his domain, and throughout his career he has veritably created almost a genre of his own in doing so. With a microscope of his own design, he scrutinizes the basic instincts of the human condition, what makes people tick and how and why they relate to one another as they do.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Beginning with The Seventh Seal, I have been enamored with the austere and intellectual world of Ingmar Bergman. His cinema is so literate and engaging, without being boring or preachy or devolving into baseless abstraction. Recently I was able to see his 1978 film, Autumn Sonata, with Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman and was touched by its emotional power.
Starting with an introductory monologue by Viktor, the pastor of the area and husband of Eva, it sets the tone of the piece and explains Eva's feelings of lovelessness and distance. After hearing of the death of her mother's lover, Eva invites her mother Charlotte to visit, and after a seven-year hiatus, the old professional pianist acquiesces. Eva's feelings towards Charlotte are very complex and we seem them unfold throughout the film, the layers peeling away, eventually, on both sides.
Charlotte's arrival shows a sophisticated and worldly older woman who is demanding and easily overshadowing of her quiet daughter. Quickly upstaging the situation, Charlotte breathlessly tells Eva the tale of Leonardo's slow death and her bedside vigil, suddenly changing gears when she hears her other daughter, Helena, is staying with Eva at the parsonage, and has been for several years. Charlotte's face shows her shock clearly enough and would not have made the visit had she known. When she sees Lena's deteriorated condition, spastic and only able to be understood by Eva, she still maintains control of the situation, though we know she is internally at odds with her outward features.
It is apparent Eva still longs, like a child, for the approval of her mother. When she describes the feelings she has after the death of her son, Erik, her mother listens politely and doesn't attempt to touch on the real emotions there.
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Format: DVD
Ingmar Bergman is one of the greatest (maybe, arguably, THE greatest) directors of all time. Ingrid Bergman (no relation) is one of the greatest (possibly, arguably, THE greatest) actresses of all time. For one of them, `Hostsonaten' marks their greatest cinematic achievement. For the other, it marks a very nice contribution to a long list of cinematic achievements.

I'll give you a hint, Ingrid is H-E-A-V-E-N-S-E-N-T here.

`Hostsonaten' is a beautifully tragic tale of family and the way we can shield ourselves from responsibility so much so that we ultimately believe we have none. Charlotte is a famed concert pianist who has segregated herself from her daughters for seven years. When her eldest, Eva, invites her to come spend some time with her and her husband, Charlotte is hesitant, but she ultimately welcomes the invitation, only to be forced to face her insecurities as a mother when Eva unveils a secret. Charlotte's youngest daughter, the tragically ill Helena, is living with Eva. Taking place over the course of one night, Charlotte and Eva basically carry on one VERY IMPORTANT conversation that shapes the way they view each other and themselves.

Before I get to the acting, I want to talk a little bit about the character of Charlotte.

Charlotte Andergast is a marvel to digest, because you cannot help but sympathize with her while simultaneously getting repulsed by her. She has all but abandoned her children and (as we learn) her husband for her own selfish pursuits, but as she is brought face to face with her actions it is obvious that she never really understood what she was doing. Her final decision is further proof that she is not ready to fully comprehend her emotional state and the effect that it has on those around her.
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