Bergman's script takes the story of his parents' relationship further on from The Best Intentions - August and Fröler reprise their roles as his mother and father - in this absorbing, if somewhat foursquare study of infidelity and self-knowledge. When Anna tells her clergyman uncle Jacob (Sydow) that she's having an affair with a much younger seminary student, the confession initiates a series of five conversations, ranging back and forth in time, in which her desire to escape the bonds of marriage is contrasted against both the disillusioned compromise later required to sustain the union, and the bright questioning spirit displayed in her early confirmation classes. Under Ullmann's over-studious direction, the pieces take their time to fall into place (though the original television version ran 200 minutes), but the actors clearly respond, August conveying the turmoil of a woman trapped by circumstances and her own febrile emotions, Sydow a figure of towering moral authority and compassion.
Cast and crew
Max von Sydow