Alone in an isolated coastal cottage, elderly dramatist Josephson (a clumsy, obvious stand-in for Bergman, who wrote the semi-autobiographical script) summons up his conscience/muse (Enore), an actress who relates in painstaking, painful detail her story of adultery, jealousy, guilt and punishment. The lucid, steady, inexorable progression to cruel catharsis is reminiscent of such '70s Bergman psycho-dramas as Scenes from a Marriage and Face to Face, and Ullmann clearly respects her mentor. She trusts in the performances (Enore's protagonist is superb and charismatic, the lover and husband less so), explores every moral and emotional nuance, and inadvertently courts charges of solipsistic indulgence. The shifts in season, weather and setting are hackneyed, and the film as a whole is astonishingly old-fashioned, but somehow, against the odds, it still manages to pack a real punch.
Cast and crew