Faithless (2000) Poster


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A Triumph For Ullmann And Bergman
jhclues13 February 2001
Ensconced in the study of his house on a secluded island off the coast of Sweden, an aging director reminisces and reflects on aspects of his life apparently still in need of resolution, in `Faithless,' written by Ingmar Bergman and directed by Liv Ullmann. Bergman is the name of the director, played by Erland Josephson, who engages in a fantasy conversation with a woman named Marianne (Lena Endre), who confesses to him her affair, after eleven years of marriage, with a man named David (Krister Henriksson), the best friend of her husband, Markus (Thomas Hanzon). Through their conversations, as well as scenes depicting particular episodes from her life-- beginning with the initial encounter with David-- we learn the intimate details of Marianne's life, as well as Markus' and their young daughter's, Isabelle (Michelle Gylemo) and, of course, David's. It's an intense, engrossing character study that examines the weaknesses and foibles of human nature to which we are all susceptible. It's a story that is, by turns, grim and thoughtful, at times poignant, while at other moments distressing, as it reflects the myriad emotional levels to which the human condition is prone at any given time. As the story progresses, it becomes impossible to distance yourself from the characters involved in the drama, for there is so much about them with which anyone in the audience will be readily able to identify; not necessarily with the infidelities, but grounded in the choices we all must make throughout our lives and the consequences thereof, and upon which a film like this precipitates rumination. As with all of the films Bergman has written and/or directed during his career, it is a pensive, thought-provoking incursion into reality. As she proved with her directorial debut of the 1997 film `Private Confessions,' also scripted by Bergman, Liv Ullmann is more than up to the formidable task of bringing Bergman's story to the screen. Her style of directing is similar to Bergman's, as could be expected-- their close working and personal relationship has spanned more than thirty years-- but her approach is perhaps a bit softer than his, and uniquely her own. In the final analysis, any similarities are primarily due to the story, which lends itself to the style Bergman perfected and upon which Ullmann certainly draws. It's not so much a matter of imitation as it is of following an intrinsic pattern conducive to the storytelling, and Ullmann has an innate sensitivity to the material that translates into the presentation of the drama and elicits the necessary sympathy and compassion from the audience that enhances the impact of it. Like Bergman, she uses the camera to help capture the sense of the drama visually, which at times creates an almost ethereal, poetic atmosphere that contrasts so well with the more stoic aspects of the story. Ullmann has an excellent sense of rhythm, and the pace of the film allows the viewer time to assimilate the many nuances of emotion expressed through the characters. Lena Endre gives a remarkable performance as Marianne, infusing a passion into the character that makes it ring so true to life, and it's one of the strengths of the film. She bares Marianne's soul, leaving no question as to the inner turmoil with which she must cope, and it reflects in Bergman's character as well; through her struggles we also feel the remorse of Bergman's character, and upon reflection it makes you realize how effective Josephson is in the role of Bergman. For it is in his subtle reactions to the phantom Marianne, and in his silent ruminations, that we learn so much about all that has transpired in their lives. Henriksson gives a notable performance as well, deftly exposing the complexities of the character that lie beneath the somewhat reserved exterior of the man, while Hanzon is effective as Markus, as is Gylemo as the young Isabelle. With `Faithless,' Ullmann firmly establishes her mark as an artist of extraordinary vision and sense of reality. Her collaboration with Ingmar Bergman is a cinematic triumph, and we can only hope that there will be more to follow, for with every film they make, another chapter is written in the Book of Life. I rate this one 10/10.
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A magnificent, cathartic film
jonr-330 July 2004
Last night, I watched "Faithless," and I've thought about it almost constantly since. A magnificent, heart-rending film. Surely this is Bergman's finest script. It's absolutely uncompromising in its unsentimental, clinical, story-telling, and filled with that compassion devoid of hope that is Bergman's trademark, and his own world view.

Hopelessness as the key to dignified human life, day by day, would seem to be an apt description of Bergman's philosophy.

I won't give away the dénouement of the story, in case you are fortunate enough not to have seen it yet, and to be able to see it. Let me just say that I was completely surprised by the plot twist near the end--it caught me entirely off-guard, and later I felt that I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. That's the mark of a master writer, to be able to take the reader (or viewer) unaware. Ingmar Bergman could have had a career as a mystery/suspense writer if he'd wanted to. (I'm glad he didn't.)

The story of "Faithless" is that of a marriage plunged into chaos by the aftermath of one chance phrase, uttered by a close friend of the married couple to the wife after a late-night supper. With a dazzling propensity for making wrong choices, which, if we're honest, we'll all recognize existing in our own lives, the protagonists rush headlong into a hell of their own making. At the center of the story, like a small, still, silent observer, resides Isabelle, the nine-year-old daughter. The effect of the grown-ups' actions on this poor child renders the story all the more poignant and horrifying.

But what I've sketched here (omitting the surprise towards the last) is only half the story. And in a sense it's not even the real story.

For Marianne and Markus (the married couple), David (the mutual friend), Isabelle, and the other main characters don't, in a sense, even exist.

The film opens in the study of an elderly film director (played by Erland Josephson, close friend and colleague of Bergman, and the actor who played Joseph, the husband, in "Scenes from a Marriage"--where his character's wife's name, Marianne, matches that of the character played in this film by Lena Endre, in an unforgettable tour-de-force amounting to a two-and-a-half-hour monologue; Marianne, in the earlier film, reminiscent of this one in many ways, was played with similar bravado by this film's director, Liv Ullman, long-time associate of Bergman and for some years his lover).

The setting might well be Bergman's own study in his house on the remote Swedish island where he's lived in isolation for the past several years. The desk is slightly more cluttered than Bergman's own (which is adorned only with a clock and a photograph of his wife, with whom, he admits, he still has conversations, years after her death, which devastated him and helped drive him into "exile"). The room is almost bare otherwise, immaculately kept, furnished with a stereo, an armchair, a couple of lamps, a few photographs on the wall.

The exterior scenes were undoubtedly shot on location on the actual island.

The "director" is seated at his desk, talking aloud to an empty room, but addressing "Marianne." First as a shadow behind him, then fully visible seated on a window-seat, Marianne appears at his bidding. The movie goes on from there--sessions of talk in the director's study, the director mainly asking pointed questions, Marianne, and later David, sometimes hesitant or afraid to answer, but gradually revealing the painful facts of their excruciating misconduct.

Significantly, at a crucial point the director comforts each of these "imaginary" (but in the film very real) creatures by a caress to the cheek-as if wiping away a child's tears.

At the end of the turbulent story, he's left alone with his manuscript--and the dark, rolling sea. He walks slowly, awkwardly along the pebbly beach, lost in thought, just as Bergman does every day.

I believe that, thanks to the incalculable combined talent of Bergman and Ullman, this film offers the viewer catharsis, as in the Greek tragedies. I certainly have felt very different in the hours since viewing it. If "religious" leaders had the courage and honesty to offer their faithful the same hopeless but compassionate view of life as this film, and Bergman's own outlook, afford, then I think the world would be a much better place.

Ironically, Bergman's point of view is largely the result of a childhood spent under the heavy hand of Protestantism. (His father was a stern pastor.) But the result has been Protestantism with a twist: in a godless world, we doom ourselves to shame and horror, yet we can, somehow, still find the dignity to go on living one day at a time, doing the best we can with our pathetic lives.

And that's the best we can do. There is no redemption, not even in art: but there may be some clarification, if we're lucky.

In the end, all we had was ourselves and one another. And we did what we thought we had to do.
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Bergman's lovely, unsparing selfportrait.
tyrohelmer2 July 2004
An old alienated writer, in an empty house, on a barren seashore, is kept company by characters of his own making. A profound and poignant statement.

This is one of the last scripts Bergman ever wrote.

Heartrending. In the end, these fantasms finish telling him their tale and they leave him. When it's over, he is utterly alone. But, at the end, the camera drifts over and reveals the pages of his now finished book. One is left with the impression that though this is a bleak life, it is not one without meaning or value.

Beautiful performances.
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an incredible and complex film about human weaknesses and failure
anikgol25 December 2004
One of the best films I've seen. Liv Ullman does an excellent job directing Bergmans masterpiece of a manuscript. Hollywood has a lot to learn, with their cheesy garbage scripts, Hollywood and this movie represent two different solar systems.

Stunning imagery, great acting, great direction and off course a manuscript that gives you sleepless nights. The actors are very well chosen, the use of light is intelligent and so is the tempo and rhythm of this film.

The viewer is taken to a journey in humanities inner thoughts failures. Suicide and death is relevant as ever to the late Bergman who with his skills takes us through layers and (inner) layers of personalities and feelings these characters have. Feelings of love, betrayal, relationship and co-existence. Each of the characters are dynamic, complex and multi- dimensional and this is again enhanced through the great acting of the actors.

Bravo Bergman and Ullman
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The Angst-Master Makes a Comeback
LeJoe7 March 2001
Not to be an elitist, but no one I know is more familiar with the work and life of Ingmar Bergman than yours truly, so when his latest and long-awaited film, Faithless, was recently released, I was immediately eager to see it. And staying true to his promise never to direct another film after Fanny and Alexander, he couldn't have picked a better director for his script than his protege and long-time colleague Liv Ullman. So, what we end up with in Faithless, is a true-to-form Bergmanesque tale that runs a bit too long and has one too many tragedies.

For the most part, the film is pretty much saved by excellent performances, especially the portrayal of Marianne by Lena Endre. The plot is a tangled web of infidelity and its consequences, punctuated with as much heartbreak, pain and suffering as any Bergman opus, and certainly as much as the average viewer can imagine or tolerate. To be sure, Bergman isn't for everyone. But if you enjoy an occasional catharsis, immobilizing intensity and walking out of the theater thinking your life isn't as bad as you thought it was, this film's for you. For those of you familiar with and amenable to Bergman trademarks, you won't be disappointed. There are plenty of long facial close-ups, monologues, ghosts as figurative demons, and a character that represents Bergman himself. This last feature is one of the machinations I feel we could have done without. It adds a character who is not really part of the plot and does little more than listen. There's also a heaviness to the plot that kind of hits you over the head. Major drama is all right with me, and Bergman is one of the best in that genre, but it was dangerously close to the saturation point of redundance and pretension. Nevertheless, for all you Bergman fans, foreign film lovers and wanna-be celluloid asthetes, you really should add this title to your repetoire. Bergman is truly one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and considering his very advanced age, this could be his last outing. Then again...
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Liv Ullman as good as her mentor.
Axolotl24 March 2001
Even if directed by his all-time leading lady Liv Ullman, "Faithless" is a 100% Bergman movie.It is directed wonderfully, with an amazing photography and beautiful sets. The influence Bergman has over Liv Ullman is really strong (fortunately) and the script is as Bergman as it gets : Psychological tension in its peak, visceral human relationships, self-destruction and all the well known Ingmar's demons. Those really familiar with this giant writer/director will find in "faithless" a lot of autobiographical quotes. Let's hope this is not the last we hear from Ingmar. This movie is wonderfully moving. A must for the Bergman lover, and for anyone with high taste.
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Splendid Acting
burrresear13 January 2004
The performance by Lena Endre was the best I have seen this decade. And the facial nuances of Erland Josephson were superior as well. All in all, the acting surpassed the totality of the movie per se; but, still this is a movie well worth seeing. I wish the US would produce films like this.
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Look! An intelligent film about, get this, PEOPLE!
the red duchess15 March 2001
'Faithless', as a film experience, is both novel and old-fashioned. Novel, because films like this simply aren't being made today, films that take the length of an expensive historical epic to concentrate on the characters, emotions, words, experiences and largely interior milieux of a handful of people; people who are not grim, sword-wielding Romans or suave cannibals, just fundamentally decent, cultured people capable of horrendous acts for love, in a low-key, familiar, plausible, yet devastating way. It is a film that knows its audience will accept 2 1/2 hours devoted largely to talk and relationships; where anything sensational, like rape, suicide or murder, is kept off-screen.

'Faithless' is, however, curiously old-fashioned. This kind of film used to be a fairly regular staple of art-house production in the 1960s and 70s, the heyday of its screenwriter, Ingmar Bergman. A time when an audience with this level of patience and willingness to involve themselves in constructing the film's meaning was quite large and influential. Where carefully realised characters, places and dialogue were important; where subjects like marriage, divorce, grief, death, betrayal were explored in complex, understanding ways that never cheated on them for the sake of a quick ending.

Such a throwback is shocking. Even the arthouse alternatives of today have largely forsaken this mode of filmmaking for fear of being labelled unwieldly or -horrors - pretentious. it is not only pre-'STar Wars', but almost pre-post-modern; irony here is a creative tool, not a cop-out attitude. I'm not suggesting that films which privilege character and dialogue over plot and action are inherently superior, but it's nice to see one once in a while.

I know they're a hard sell. I desperately want you to see this film, but I can't promise that you'll be entertained or amused. We are asked to watch, for 154 minutes, the relentless dissolution of a marriage and the adulterous relationship; we are asked to watch characters analyse, torture themselves, seek emotional exits through self-pity and histrionics. We are asked to watch the effect of all this on a young child. We have to watch this path lead to some truly shocking climaxes. Even 'lollipops', such as the pleasure of the affair, the Parisian interlude etc., are soured by our foreknowledge of the events and their general outcome, if not details. There is no Hollywood softening through swelling music or redemptive epiphanies. The film's austerity, autumnal/wintry tone and self-reflexive formal apparatus reminds me of a late Beckett play, like'Ohio Impromptu' or 'That Time'. An old artist (in this case a filmmaker), emotionally paralysed for decades having taken the wrong decisions in a relationship through a monstrous pride and egotism, tries to unravel the processes that led him to his current shellshocked state.

The long, painful move towards understanding involves tortuous conservations with ghosts, memories, past selves, all filtered through, and thus compromised by his own subjective ego, his need to explain and expiate. The film we watch is also about the creation of the film we're watching. Self-reflexivity intrudes throughout - the film projector through the window behind Bergman; the characters all in the arts; the theatre settings; the allusions to Bergman's past works; the motif of the 'Magic Flute' magic box etc. - all emphasising the way characters perform and ritualise their genuine feelings; asking us how we interpret testimonies that are, in any case, the wranglings of a guilty man's head.

The film is such a bracing reminder of what cinema used to do, you're prepared to forgive its faults - the neatness of the plot, especially, tending predictably towards a harrowing, yet cathartic, revelation. Like Francois Ozon's brilliant Fassbinder adaptation 'Water Falling on Burning Rocks', Ullman's Bergman pastiche cannot fully replicate the power of the original; audiences couldn't handle it, we've been intellectually softened. The climax is harrowing, but contained - think of the true horrors of a film like 'Cries and Whispers'. Bergman would never let us, or the character Bergman, off so easily.

But this is Ullmann's picture, and the way she films a scene like Marianne's revelation about her nocturnal plea-bargaining with her husband, or the earlier, squirmingly comic scene where he discovers the lovers in flagranto delicto, have an empathetic, non-exploitative tact that may have been beyond her master.
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Bergman's beautiful melancholy lives
hammy-326 October 2000
Scripted by Ingmar Bergman and directed by his protege Liv Ullman, this film is much closer in spirit to Bergman realist dramas of the '70's than to his earlier expressionist work. Many of his characteristic themes are here: the responsibility of artists, and the hopelessness at the heart of modern relationships are prominent.

It's a deeply melancholy film, the only piece of comic relief is a scene where one of the protagonists is rehearsing a play which is hopelessly overwrought: if cinema is Bergman's mistress and theatre his wife, in this case, she's a wild, psychotic spouse. The movie as a whole is deeply theatrical, though, saved from being stagey by a few beautifully poetic cinematic touches. The acting is wonderful, bringing to a well-worn tale a deeply moving grandeur.
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La femme adultère
mar_solelie19 January 2004
Ingmar Bergman,as you may know it ,wrote the screenplay of Faithless.Bergman ,a great director and a writer-to me--he is more a `writer' than director.

Erland Josephson is Bergman 's best friend and favorite actor in Faithless he plays,well,Bergman!.Erland 's character is an aging film and theatre director who `conjures' up the ghost of Marianne(Lena Endre),an actress and ex lover ,who also became his muse.The film concentrates on her disastrous affair- years ago- with her husband's best friend and the terrible consequences for her own family(as the suffering of her child). Lena Endre is part of Ingmar Bergman troupe(she has worked with him in the theater) gives one of the most exhausting performance I ever seen!.she can seat next to Ingrid Thulin as one of the most captivating female actresses from Sweden(after Greta and Ingrid of course!).Liv Ullman(another Ingmar Bergman muse) in `Faithless',also gives something important:a tribute-- `homage'-- to this unique film-maker.Liv's directorial work it's strong -of course--she had learn from the best!.

Bergman's fascination -through his so productive- career has been the impossibility of relationship between a man and a woman;the egocentrism of an artist and also death.We tend to ` idealize' monogamy and fidelity.FAITHLESS is close to films like Scene from a Marriage,(starring Ullman) or Wild Strawberries(an aging man goes to a metaphysical journey).So ,my question is :was Ullman paying tribute to Bergman or this film is Bergman's gift to his long time muse?.I think is both.

See also Bergman's CRIES &WHISPERS.His tribute to all his important muses,women and actresses of his incredible career.

Anguish and uncertainty,just think of what this words means.Faithless is a complex film about many subjects: `adults' who can't have a connection.'complex woman'_one thing that I love about this film is how complicated the female psyche can be.and the perception of reality/fiction from an artist(he creates from his experience or it is based on fiction and fantasies?).Bergman_through close-up _ had show the `female GAZE'-that particular LOOK. In Faithless his woman sees an extraordinary old man,he is her confidant-she doesn't exist without him-(or viceversa?).Then, she vanishes. an artist can be very faithful with his own art,with his actresses ,with himself---this is a very powerful subject.FILMS are a prove that ghosts really exist,that characters are more alive than real people.Bergman and ULLMAN:faithful talents exploring the blurred line between an artist and his muse.Or when the muse surpasses the creator.(can this be possible?).A wife.A lover.A muse.all of this and more.

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Tough and intense
rainking_es17 May 2008
This is a perfect and painful radiography of the breaking of a marriage, step by step. It leans on the superb work of Lena Endre -she's like the Swedish Meryl Streep-. Liv Ullman and Bergman (who wrote the script) capture every emotion, every state of mind. From passion to remorse, from love to the hatred provoked by jealousy.

Liv and Ingmar psychoanalyze infidelity and Lena Endre's character seems to be in front of a psychoanalyst. She undresses her soul and she lets herself go in such a way that's only within the best actresses reach.

"Trolosa" is tough and is intense. It's obviously a movie for adults, with a language rather literary but so real when it comes to talk about feelings and moral diatribes. Such a masterpiece and an amazing display of talent of an awesome actress.

*My rate: 9'5/10
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Scandinavian,cold,unpredictable & Great
frankkvinge25 March 2001
When i first saw the movie i did not know that it was about Bergmans life,i still dont know what scenes was,or wasnt true to his life,but regardless it was a very suspensful movie it moves kind of slow (but never boring) with kind of typical scandinavian lifestyle,humor,sexual overtones. Marianne was very sexy (for an older lady,im only 33) too.

The movie makes you think a lot, and youre not gonna forget the story in a long time, some parts you might remember for decades. It teaches you about temptations (adultery)if you follow them youre gonna get yourselves in a whole lot of trouble,ruin lives

I was thinking about Knut Hamsun a lot through the whole movie,thinking that Bergmann had written a great movie just like the many he had directed by Hamsun, (i usualy dont like copy cats) but with his own twist. So when i found out that it was about Bergmans life ,i thought to myself that he must have lived his life like those movies.

Great job by Liv Ullmann directing
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I never thought a movie could be that good!
philip_vanderveken14 December 2004
I'm one of the lucky few who have seen this magnificent movie. If you haven't seen it yet, you should rush to the local video rental store and watch it as soon as possible. It's so sober, so beautiful, so special, so ... There just aren't enough words to describe this movie and the effect it had on me. I'm not easily touched by a movie, but this one blew me right out of my socks.

The movie shows us a lonely man, living in a house on a beach where absolutely no person seems to come. It's Bergman himself, writing a new script for a movie. When doing so, an imaginary woman accompanies him, telling him everything about her life. She tells him all details of her life as a married woman, betraying her husband with his best friend and the consequences of her actions. All this seems so sterile from time to time, yet you'll be touched by it in the most profound way, especially when you see how her 9-year old daughter is aware of everything that is happening around her and how it influences her life...

Ingmar Bergman's script is so sober, yet so surprising. You think you know where the movie is going, but only at the end of the movie you'll understand the full picture. It's so cold and warm at the same time, it's a little story, telling a huge tale. It' just unbelievably good. I give it a 10/10, only because 11, 12 or even more is impossible. I never thought a movie could be that good!
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Excellent study of adultery.
JamisonC18 January 2004
What motivates these characters? This is a study of motivations but you have to pay attention. This is about the cycle of sin - the impact of our immorality on our relationships. I appreciated discovering the start of this cycle at the end of the film. Well directed, written, and played. Great metaphors. Recommended!
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Among the best of Bergman's later movies
TheLittleSongbird2 February 2013
While directed by Liv Ullman, Faithless looks and feels like a Bergman(who took on the writer role) film, and I mean that as a compliment. Faithless is beautifully shot and looks evocative, very like Bergman actually. Ullman, as she also did with Private Confessions, proves that she is every bit as good as a director as she is an actress. The story is deliberately paced and also intelligent and poignant in both the storytelling and how the themes are incorporated, and Bergman writes one of his more personal and insightful scripts. The characters as always with Bergman are compellingly real and sharply observed, and the nuanced and pitch-perfect performances of Erland Josephson and Lena Endre only adds to that.

Overall, a wonderful film. Not one of my favourite Bergman films, but one of his best later films. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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i was hoping it would be better
zetes1 April 2001
Faithless is a decent film. It is far too bad that I was expecting something more. As it stands, its acting is first-rate, the direction is fine, if unflourished (for some reason, audiences now frown upon any direction with flair), and the script is fine, although certainly it has been done before. The issues of infidelity in a marriage have been explored countless times in all media. This is not bad, and I definitely think it is not something that has been overdone by any means, but Faithless offers just a couple of really interesting moments in its 2.5 hour running time. Really, only Bergman fans should (and would, anyway) see it. And those fans should at least be familiar with Liv Ullmann's place in his films. Unfortunately, I have only seen three movies that she did with him, Persona being the best. I think I understood most of the subtext having seen Persona. 7/10
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Writer's Creations Uncomfortably Take Over His Life
noralee20 December 2005
"Faithless (Trolösa)" starts out claiming that it's about the corrosive effects of divorce, but it seemed to be equally about the writer's creative process, how the characters' emanate with little control and take over the artist's life.

With a provenance that feels uncomfortably autobiographical, as it's written by Ingmar Bergman, who lives alone on an island like the man who calls forth characters in the movie, and directed by Liv Ullman, Bergman's one-time muse, lover and mother of their child (and the child here becomes a painful pawn).

The lead triangle is all in the arts, as actress, director, conductor. Many of Bergman's later works have originated on Swedish TV and I wonder if this did too, as it's mostly tight close-ups or claustrophobic two-person interplays.

Lena Endre's face is so captivating that I kept forgetting to read the subtitles, so I missed some dialog here and there.

The audience was a bit exasperated at the end, in trying to figure out what was imaginary and what was real and what happened to whom at the end, but I think that's what happens to writers as they leave their work.

(originally written 2/11/2001)
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WhiteCSB9 October 2019
I saw this film several (15 or so) years ago and have never been able to forget it. I end up forgetting the name of it and then after searching the internet with all the information I can string together, I (re)discover the title. I finally just purchased it online since I want to see it again and nobody is streaming it. It isn't a fun, entertaining film-the bits of information given should inform you of that much-but it is more than worth watching if you want a movie to move you and remain with you long after it has ended.

I won't say anything else because enough has already been given away by reviewers and this is a movie that should be seen without any foreknowledge. Some people will hate it and decry the subject and "immorality" depicted, but others will stick around and possibly be as moved as I was by the ending. One of my all time favorite films!
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Scenes from an affair
gizmomogwai20 September 2019
Standing out for the novelty, Liv Ullmann directs a screenplay penned by her old director, lover, and father of her daughter- Ingmar Bergman. And it's purportedly inspired by their relationship. Like other works from Bergman's desk, there's an intimate, autobiographical feel to it. Lena Endre gives a strong performance- she previously appeared in The Best Intentions (1992), also written by Bergman. Bergman vet Erland Josephson has an important part as well.

Still, Faithless doesn't exactly measure up to Scenes from a Marriage. Part of that is Ullmann's TV movie-style direction; I did like the shot looking over the candles, though. The length is bordering on excessive, as well. The framing, acknowledging Marianne as a fictional character, felt to me unnecessary and gave me the sense Bergman was being self-indulgent, feeling a need to inject himself into his screenplay.
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Superb achievements by Ullmann and Endre
proud_luddite11 November 2018
An elderly writer/film-maker (Erland Josephson) interviews an imagined character Marianne (Lena Endre) who recounts an adulterous affair that destroyed her family. ("Faithless" is directed by Liv Ullmann and written by Ingmar Bergman.)

The premise of having the story narrated works beautifully especially for a twist that happens near the end. It is also a wonderful excuse to include Josephson, a past collaborator with both Bergman and Ullmann.

The characters in the story seem to have more advantages than most. All of them earn a living (and for some, a good one at that) in the arts: Marianne is an actress; her lover David (Krister Henriksson) is a theatre/film director (albeit one in serious debt); and her husband Markus (Thomas Hanzon) is an internationally renowned orchestra conductor. While it may be tempting to envy those living the artistic life, the ones depicted here should be avoided in the envy trap due to the troubles they face.

Some might argue that the film is too long at two and a half hours. It might also be argued that there were too many elements of drama especially those added to the end when it seemed there was already enough to absorb. While these might be fair arguments, one thing is certain: Ullmann and her cast easily bring viewers to an emotional state and keep them there. Endre, particularly, gives an exceptional performance especially during two monologues.

Whether collaborating as actress & director or director & writer, Ullmann and Bergman easily create great magic together. While "Faithless" is a relatively recent film, its depth and intensity remind one of earlier collaborations of these two great artists in the 60s and 70s as well as other great works of that magnificent era.


Directing by Liv Ullmann

Acting by Lena Endre
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..simpler could have been much better
bjarias31 October 2017's long, and during the entire time they never really sell the idea why she would turn her life so upside down, pretty much just to screw this unappealing guy (who at the end shows his true character).. ...the David they cast does not measure up to the force that is his lover.. why would she see so many things in him that we just do not..

..and looking at her facial expression not fitting with the film's pedigree, you get the feeling she may be an airhead.... and the husband's plight being entirely script driven does nothing for the work except to add to the overall confusion..

..there's lots to like, with almost as much to disparage... don't believe lots will choose to sit through the entire over sized reel once again..
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Faithless and hopeless.
sunheadbowed15 February 2017
'Trolösa' is the second film to be directed by Liv Ullmann that was written by Ingmar Bergman. That Bergman's DNA is all through the film is not a surprise: Ullmann was Bergman's dear friend, former lover and sometimes enemy, and her work -- and personal life -- will forever be linked with Bergman and his style; it's easy to believe that Ullmann learned all she knows about film-making from her years studying under one of the all-time greats. And she learned well, for she is a very fine director.

Even by Bergman film standards, 'Trolösa' is bleak viewing. While so many of Bergman's films are about suffering and pain, there was rarely a feeling of absolute hopelessness at their core: the light shone through the darkness in moments of tenderness and beauty, especially in the eyes of his exceptional heroine actor-cum-martyrs, particularly Ullmann herself.

There isn't any such redemption here, which features very strong acting from its three main characters (played by Lena Endr, Krister Henriksson and Thomas Hanzon) but no signs of warmth or hope to cling onto: all three are deeply unlikeable and selfish in their suffering. So much so, it's almost a relief when this long film ends and we're rid of them. It's hard not to feel for the actors because despite their talents this was a very tough script to transform into enjoyable viewing, and it largely fails in this regard.

The only character that isn't unlikeable is played by the little girl, Isabelle (Michelle Gylemo), but unfortunately her character is so underwritten that she mostly plays the role of mute suffering in the background. And at the film's ending, after we learn that Marianne dies from drowning, we don't even get to find out what happens to the orphaned Isabelle -- her character is discarded like a prop, which, ironically, is how her parents treated her; yet we hear from dull David, who continues to feel sorry for himself, seemingly always finding new ways to be miserable.

Considering what Isabelle went through (the messy dissolution of her parents' marriage and resulting instability, her mother and her new lover screaming at each other constantly, her father committing suicide and nearly taking her with him and finally her mother's death by drowning) she probably ended up in a loony bin.

The most affecting and tender performance in the film is given by its best actor, the legendary Erland Josephson, star of countless Bergman films, playing an elderly Bergman wrestling with his demons and attempting to exorcise them the only way he knows how -- by writing films about them.
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Excellent Morality Tale
blackjakko10 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
An excellent film. It gives you the experience through the characters of infidelity, the glee of romance, and the inevitably carnage it creates. Lena Endre is perfect. The enigmatic Swede that happily orchestrates an affair with one of her good friends, a friend of the family, and her husbands best friend. She thinks it will be fun without any consequences. It's like a willingness to suspend disbelief, or just plain denial that anything could go wrong, or that anyone could be hurt. I must admit, that is the point I simply don't go for. Apart from that, Liv Ullmann does a brilliant job of directing. She has a master's touch for giving the audience enough, but not too much, just enough to keep you absolutely fascinated. The script is obviously very good, by Ingmar Bergman, but Ullmann has improved it dramatically with her alterations and additions. She takes a woman, who has everything and shows what happens when you take it all for granted and greedily take more. Henricksson's character is at least honest about his ability to destroy everything he touches. His character remains the same throughout and loses nothing. It is Marianne who loses the lot, and sorry to say, rightly so. This is a beautifully done morality tale that does not leave out the inevitable damage the children are forced to endure at the hands of their selfish, stupid, lustful parents.
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Scarecrow-8826 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Erland Josephson stars as a screenwriter who, through a muse(Lena Endre, who also portrays the main female character of Marianne as well), summons an extremely depressing tale of the passion and tragic consequences of infidelity. David(Krister Henriksson)is the job-less love-partner for Marianne whose husband, Markus((Thomas Hanzon), travels with his successful orchestra. David is a sad case because he's deep in debt through constant failure--a direct opposite of Markus. Anyone can see Marianne's setting herself up for a harsh existence she just can not pull away from. Marianne's passion for David overwhelms her to the point where she's willing to sacrifice the marriage to a success for a certain failure. David's jealousy doesn't help matters(not to mention he has two children he barely visits at all from a previous relationship)considering his bad debts and mood swings.

The truly tragic victim, and the film definitely points this out, is young Isabelle(Michelle Gylemo)who is Markus and Marianne's daughter. She sees the crumbling around her as three people fight, bicker, or do not associate at all. The film's main conflict, besides the adultery and it's effects, is the supposed court case and how Markus wants full custody of Marianne. He doesn't contact Marianne for a long period while also sending social service to check out the living conditions of David and Marianne. Then, after a certain disturbing sexual agreement, Markus allows Marianne to have full custody of Isabelle ending in further tragic consequences. We see that the once joyous relationship of David and Marianne is starting to topple as well.

The film's theme isn't fresh, but the performances from the three main actors are. Endre is quite expressive and mesmerizing in the lead female role as she speaks through the varying degree of emotional ups and downs her Marianne continues through because of her decisions. We rarely see Markus, but Henriksson is certainly convincing as David, a man caught in an emotional quagmire often behaving irrationally and emoting certain feelings haphazardly. I feel we should be able to see quite early that this relationship, despite it's passionate, loving moments was never gonna last.
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"A diversion before death"
nunculus19 February 2001
On his remote Swedish island, Ingmar Bergman (Erland Josephsson) conjures a character who's a present-tense, fictionalized version of a woman from his past (Lena Endre). It seems that long ago, in Bergman's youth (replayed here in the present day), he stole the wife of a friend--a conductor who ran the orchestras of the operas Bergman directed. That wife, played by Endre, confronts her real-life ex and fictional-life author: "You want what all directors want," she tells him, "A dynamic actor who'll bring life and make sense out of your mishmash." FAITHLESS was written by an 84-year-old Ingmar Bergman--the same age as Saul Bellow writing the not-nearly-as-crusty RAVELSTEIN--and it is his best screenplay since SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE a quarter century ago. The events of the movie's adulterous encounter and its aftermath are far from novel, but the intensity of Bergman's gaze--even as "just" a writer--makes them spellbinding. Anatomizing the cruelties inflicted in the name of love, Bergman swaddles you in that familiar rhetoric that, quite frankly, it is a joy to behold in this debased era: a character actually says, delightfully characteristically, "Loneliness. Alien. Alienation." Wise and fully-grown, FAITHLESS is directed by Liv Ullmann, who has a sure, steady hand with the actors (if not the animals and children). The performances are not great, but what does it matter? This, Bergman's apologia pro vita mia, reveals the author to be, in his own head, unforgiven. I find there to be something deeply comforting in the notion that Bergman, like his colleague John Huston before him, is in no way spiritually prepared for death. Both fellas have scores to settle, reputations to shred.

Bergman is as colicky and spoiled as he ever was.
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