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You know you're back in Bergman country when a character begins speaking to the camera right from the start. In the prologue to Saraband, which was made for Swedish television, Marianne (Liv Ullmann) recounts the changes that have taken place since Scenes From a Marriage, the miniseries-turned-feature that introduced the central couple. Johan (Erland Josephson) has retired from academia, while she continues to practice family law. Since splitting up for good, they haven't seen each other in over 30 years. Marianne decides it's time to reconnect and makes plans to visit Johan at his remote cottage. While they catch up, she gets to know his estranged son, Henrik (Börje Ahlstedt), and beloved granddaughter, Karin (Julia Dufvenius), who are staying in the guest house. Both are still reeling from the death of Henrik's wife, Anna, two years ago. Although she never appears--she's represented by a portrait of Bergman's late wife, Ingrid, to whom the film is dedicated--Anna's ghost haunts them all (even Marianne, who never knew her). Divided into 10 parts plus the prologue and epilogue, Saraband looks more like a play than a film, which is not necessarily a drawback (it's in keeping with the "scenes" of the original series). The focus is on the characters and their words. They could be anywhere at any time; their problems are personal yet universal. For two hours, the outside world does not exist. In the complete universe Bergman has created for them, it doesn't need to. As much a love letter to his wife as to his muse, Ullmann--who has rarely been better--Bergman has stated that Saraband will be his final work.

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Special Features The Making-of SARABAND featurette Previews

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CO10898 Saraband DVD (2005/Liv Ullman) 30% Off! $19.95 $13.97