Monday, July 15, 2013

Autumn Sonata

A celebrated concert pianist (Ingrid Bergman) who has long neglected her family returns to the home of her daughter (Liv Ullman) and, to her surprise and shock, finds her other mentally challenged daughter (Lena Nyman) whom she had long ago institutionalized. An awkward reacquaintance and dinner is followed by a late-night conversation between mother and daughter where years of unspoken hatreds and regrets come bubbling to the surface. Autumn Sonata joined two of Sweden's most celebrated international talents Ingmar and Ingrid Bergman, in what would be a late career triumph for both of them. Ingrid, who is cold and tremendous in her role, would earn an Academy Award nomination and not make another feature film, and Ingmar, whose film is as dark and challenging as any of the many great works he crafted, would receive further critical accolades and also an Oscar nod for screenwriting. The cinematography by his longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist is sumptuous and Liv Ullman is match for Ms. Bergman in a heartbreaking performance.