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Scenes From a Marriage (The Criterion Collection)

4.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Marianne (Liv Ullman) and Johan (Erland Josephson) always seemed like the perfect couple. But when Johan suddenly leaves Marianne for another woman, they are forced to confront the disintegration of their marriage. Shot in intense, intimate close-ups by master cinematographer Sven Nykvist, the film chronicles ten years of turmoil and love that bind the couple despite their divorce and subsequent marriages. Flawless acting and dialogue portray the brutal pain and uplifting peace that accompany a lifetime of loving. Originally conceived as a six-part miniseries for Swedish television, The Criterion Collection is proud to present not only the U.S. theatrical version, but also, for the first time on video in the U.S., Ingmar Bergman’s original five-hour television version of Scenes From a Marriage.

Special Features

  • Three-disc edition includes 163-minute U.S. theatrical version and the original five-hour television version
  • High-definition digital transfers with restored elements and new and improved subtitles
  • An interview with film scholar Peter Cowie comparing the two versions
  • A new interview with the two lead actors, Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson
  • A 1986 interview with director Ingmar Bergman
  • New essay by Phillip Lopate

Product Details

  • Actors: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom
  • Producers: Lars-Owe Carlberg
  • Format: Box set, Color, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 283 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00019JR6I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,888 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scenes From a Marriage (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Toshifumi Fujiwara on January 19, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD set includes both versions of Ingmar Bergman's minimalist epic SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE; the 3 hours cut for theatrical release, and the original 6 episodes (Mr.Bergman calls them "scenes") over 5 hours-TV series, in a beautifully restored High-Def master.

The film was shot in 16mm which is grainier than a 35mm film, and this High-Def transfer even represents the peculiar material textuality of the grain structure of a photographic film stock. Some DVD aficionados might object to this un-digital look, but that actually makes the film more soft, warm, and human. It actually looks better than 35mm release prints of the 3 hours version.

I first started to watch the TV series around midnight, thinking maybe I will watch just the first episode and go to bed, and would continue to watch one episode every night. What happened? I kept watching until 5 in the morning, and was so excited I didn't feel like going to bed so also watched the supplements. The next evening I watched the 3 hours theatrical cut, finishing it with a burning desire of going back to the TV series.

With the consistent strength of his works, as well as his high reputation lasting for the last fifty years, it is hard to realize that Ingmar Bergman is actually a very flexible filmmaker, whose career is marked with constant transformations of style and subject matter. But comparing his greatest films such as SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT, MONIKA, THE SEVENTH SEAL, THE SILENCE, PERSONA, CRIES AND WHISPERS, AUTUMN SONATA and FANNY AND ALEXANDER, one should be surprised with the wide variety of his dramatic body of works which is constantly renewing itself.

SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE is a radical film.
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Format: DVD
From its uncompromising script, through Sven Nykvist's deft camerawork to the flawless honesty of its acting, this film delivers one of the transcendent emotional experiences in world cinema. Its themes of personal and sexual liberation, as well as the emerging feminist perspective of its heroine, give it a definite period feel (early 1970s), but its concerns are timeless. In one great scene after another, Bergman lays bare our basic human conundrum: the need to be separate and autonomous wars with our need to be connected.

The opening scene is an interview with Johan (Erland Josephson) and his wife, Marianne (Liv Ullman) about their marriage. Self-satisfied Johan preens as he describes how perfect they are as a couple. Marianne, deferential, beams with quiet pride at his side. Despite their warm words, their bodies seem oddly out of rythym with each other, a clue to further cracks we soon see in the couple's smooth façade. She's not as devoted to their sex life as he is, and both of them resent the tyrannical sway of her parents. We watch Marianne try to tell her mother that they won't be coming as usual for Sunday dinner, and then quickly back off when her mother objects.

Johan is a closet poet. When he shares some poems with an old college friend, she tells him not to bother sending them to a publisher. In a quietly devastating aside, she tells him that back in their university days, their entire circle thought that Johann would advance much further than the rest of them. The implication is, of course, that he hasn't. Stalled in mid-career as a researcher, and chafed by the demands of domesticity, Johan undergoes a classic midlife crisis. He comes home from work one night and tells Marianne that he's fallen in love with a twenty-four year old colleague.
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Format: DVD
This film is incredible. It is, however, a brutal one to watch (the intense arguments are too intense to watch at times, there is so much PAIN in this film). Its basic plot, as ridiculous as this sounds, is "husband and wife argue, then make up, then argue, then make up, then argue, then make up, and so on and so forth" or "husband and wife love eachother, then hate eachother, then love eachother, then hate eachother, then love eachother, etc." Yet in this back and forth plot, progress is made all the time. A couple who seemed SO perfect in the film's famous and brilliantly forboding opening interview sequence, begin to realize that they cannot go through life being a perfect married couple and still love eachother in the process. The incredibly well rounded characters we know at the beginning of the film, Johan and Marianne, are NOT the same characters we know at the end. The incredibly cocky and self-assured ("it would be too much to say that im bright, handsome, and sexy") Johan becomes the incredibly weak and humble Johan as the the film progresses, while the woman Marianne, who believed that she was put on this earth to be a good wife and mother, nothing more, becomes the confident Marianne, who realizes it is not at all a sin to have your own personality. In essence, the film chronicles the immense change of two people as they become farther from eachother.
Basically, the point of the film, in my view anyway, is to show that Marianne and Johan love eachother SO MUCH that marriage only restricts this love. They get along BEAUTIFULLY (they really do, unlike while they were married, when they just SAID that they get along tremendously) in the last Scene, when they are finally divorced and remarried to different people. Bergman's point surely was to show that marriage can be a bad idea.
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