October 21st, 2005

Saraband

Ingmar Bergman retired from film-making over twenty years ago.

Actually it was only ever a semi-retirement. He kept on writing screenplays and directing for television.

Now one of his TV projects has been given a cinema release. He says that Saraband will be his last film ever (yeah, but we've heard that one before.)

I was expecting something autumnal and valedictory. Bergman's Tempest. Not a bit of it. Saraband is as raw and horrid as anything he did back in the 60s.

Incest, love and hate, the old feeding off the young.

The critics are divided. A masterpiece or the mechanical reworking of old themes? I lean towards "masterpiece".

There are four actors. They're all good, but Borje Ahlstedt as the vampiric father is quite extraordinary.