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Shame (Special Edition)

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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(Apr 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

A flawless work (The New Yorker) from Oscar(r) winner* Ingmar Bergman, Shame probes the atrocities of warboth internal and externalas a young couple struggles to survive while the world around them crumbles into chaos. On a remote island far removed from a raging civil war, Jan and Eva (Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann) retreat to their apolitical fortress: a small vegetable farm. But their serene existence is shattered when soldiers violently invade their home. Now caught in the crosshairs of a brutal and inhuman conflict, Jan and Eva become survivors with only one concernto endure. *1970: Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

Special Features

  • Brand-new digital film transfer presented in the original aspect ratio (1.33:1)
  • Original Swedish audio and English audio
  • Commentary by Bergman biographer Marc Gervais
  • "The Search for Humanity" featurette
  • On-camera interview with Liv Ullmann
  • Photo gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Sigge Fürst, Gunnar Björnstrand, Birgitta Valberg
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Lars-Owe Carlberg
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002109FI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,242 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shame (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on January 17, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
One doesn't think of Ingmar Bergman as a director of action or thriller (genre) movies. But he directs the war sequences in "Shame" with stunning confidence. It seems he could have made many more big (even epic) movies if he had been so inclined. This film features Bergman veterans Von Sydow and Ullmann as ordinary people who are turned into refugees by a ferocious war in which they get caught. They lose everything, are harassed, beaten and exploited. Eventually the neurotic Von Sydow proves he will do anything to survive. Simone Weil once wrote "the great mystery of life is not suffering, but affliction." That is: suffering brings out the best in some people, others it turns into beasts. This movie asks that most painful question: what would you do in the same situation? The film presents a harrowing landscape of hell on earth that ends in a climax that will inevitably remind you of "Titanic", although Bergman did it first. It's more immediately accessible than many of Bergman's other movies because the anguish here takes external form, not just emotionally interior terror. A neglected masterpiece that should be seen at least as often as his other great works.
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Format: VHS Tape
I don't care what people think of me after I make this statement. I don't care if people think I'm over dramatizing or if I sound pretentious. But, Ingmar Bergman, to me, is a cinematic genius! People offen ask me, why do you like Bergman? Aren't you a little too young to watch his films (I'm 18)? When asked these questions my answer is always the same. I watch Bergman's films because I simply love the way he shows the human condition. Unlike Hollywood filmmakers, I think his films are far more personal. He shows society at face values, our good sides and bad. As for me being too young. Well, do you have to be a certain age to have a love for the finer things?
Bergman's films almost if not always conjure important issues. His films make you think. And, they, to me anyway, always have characters that we can relate to. His films leave an emotional impact on his audience. Watching films like "Wild Strawberries", or "The Seventh Seal", "Through A Glass, Darkly", "Persona", and "Cries and Whispers" they are all able to connect with the viewer. We feel for these characters. I've offen joked around and have said that the two characters in "Strawberries" and "Seal" are me! And "Shame" is just as powerful as any other Bergman film. The images we see on screen, grip us. They are intense, but, not like the way cop movies are. They are intense in a realistic point of view. "Shame" directed and written by Bergman stars Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman as Jan and Eva Rosenberg, former violinist, who have not played in some time. I assume this is due to the civil war that is happening. They live on a farm, far away from society. And, according to Jan (Sydow) that is a good thing.
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Format: VHS Tape
The details of this film pass with the gritty realism almost of a documentary. Indeed of several documentaries: first about the intricacies of an ordinary marriage, then about the abrupt interruption of war, finally a descent into brutality, some might say insanity. In all three regards, the movie presents a powerful, because intimate, representation of the human condition. Who cannot picture their own relationship with their spouse at the beginning? Who can watch the middle section without thinking of Bosnia, or of Kosovo? Fortunately, most of us have been spared the film's denouement (if denouement is the appropriate term here).
It is from a structuralist perspective, however, that the film proves to be a truly remarkable work. It is clearly allegorical, and like all allegories it invites interpretation. It suggests many things, all conflictual: the struggle of art against political and social brutishness (the broken violin, the ruined hands, the smashing of a piano, etc.) It suggests the defeat of simplicity (with an overtone of 'simple piety') in the face of human complexity, and ultimately free will. Jan and Eva are not simple people, yet they attempt the simple life as an escape from war. The war - the human condition in extremis - catches up with them and takes them over through death, prostitution, revenge. The film's most poignant moment occurs as the aspiring mother, Eva, comes across a slaughtered infant, mourns the death of innocence, as it were.
There are many other allegorical levels at which this film plays, all of them valid interpretations.
Yet it is as an allegory of love that the film held greatest power for me. It's hardly an uplifting view of love, but then Bergman never shies from the harsher portrayals of humanity.
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Format: VHS Tape
Along with "Persona" (1966), "Shame" ranks as one of Bergman's greatest achievements and remains as relevant and frightening as it was in 1968. While "Persona" dealt with the interior fragmentation of individual identity, "Shame" extends the dissolution to civilization as a whole. It stars Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as concert violinists who wish only to live undisturbed while a civil war rages around them. Inevitably, the war absorbs their lives and forces out many hidden and unappealing features in their characters. Bergman does an extraordinary job portraying a society collapsing into terror and oppression - an all the more impressive achievement when you realize that most of his films are intense character examinations featuring a few actors and are not staged on such a wide a scope as this.
The performances are all first-rate, as you would expect, and it presents - along with "Persona" - a probling presentation of key contemporary problems and, like the former film, permits the possibility that their are no fixed answers. The fate of Sydow and Ullmann's characters are left uncertain and the outcome of the war, as well as the combatants, are never specified - the viewer is never given easy point to orient himself; everything is unknowable, elusive, destructive. There is no salvation for these careers, no "Schindler's List" (a film that would make any interesting companion to this one) to save them from these horrors.
"Shame" is one of the best films ever made about ordinary people reacting to the horror of war.
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