The Touch

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Bergman's first English language movie looks more accessible than most of his work at this period, a 'love story' (as he has called it) telling how middle class Swedish housewife Anna (Andersson) meets Anglo-Jewish archaeologist David (Gould), has an intermittent and rocky affair with him, and ends up losing both lover and husband, the penalty of compromise. 'It is possible to live two lives' says Anna hopefully to David, 'and slowly combine them in one good, wise life'. But the film demonstrates conclusively that it isn't: not only does the double life involve deceit, but it is always threatened by the incalculable factors in human nature. David's love for Anna alternates with spells of motiveless violence and morose indifference; Anna's seemingly kindly and myopic husband (von Sydow) does discover the affair and does give Anna an ultimatum. Anna thus keeps finding, to her dismay, that she cannot predict how either man will act next. Conversely, David's violence and the husband's growing coldness are their reactions to Anna's unpredictability. Bergman may have temporarily shelved his metaphysical concerns - no religious questionings, no fantasy, no artist-in- society debate - but his analysis of human relationships is as complex as ever.

Release details

Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Screenwriter: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Max von Sydow
Barbro Hiort af Ornäs
Sheila Reid
Bibi Andersson
Elliott Gould
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