Reputedly based on an incident in the life of its screenwriter, Ingmar Bergman, Faithless is a powerful film that investigates the consequences of adultery, betrayal and grief and the long-term implications for everyone involved. Directed by Bergman's former muse and actress-turned-director, Liv Ullman, the story begins when an old man who lives by the sea, just like Bergman himself, ransacks his memories for material for his writing. He conjures up the beautiful Marianne (Lena Endre) who recounts a major turning point in her life: her affair with her husband's best friend. Her story is captured both in flashback and through Marianne's dialogue, as the camera lingers on her expressive face and his rapt, silent countenance. Not surprisingly the story is an intense and convoluted one and what ensues is a tale of guilt, pain and enduring damage as "simple things become complicated". The remote shore-side confessional location adds to the mystery: just what is their relationship? Is Marianne a figment of his imagination? As the film progresses, the truth begins to dawn.
Lena Endre gives a vividly emotional performance, particularly during the poignant scenes concerning her beautiful but increasingly withdrawn daughter (luminescently acted by Michelle Gylemo). Without seeming to judge her, Endre brilliantly portrays a woman who knows that what she is doing is wrong, but does it all the same. The rawness of the erupting emotions is reinforced by an almost total lack of background music and the film becomes ever more involving to watch, even if the key characters seem to have brought about their misfortune themselves. If there is a weakness here it is that the performances of the men are somewhat overshadowed. Lover David, enigmatically portrayed by Krister Henrekssen, looks older than his allocated years and his motivations are unclear; Thomas Hanzon, playing Markus the charismatic husband, seems too restrained in his role and the viewer longs for him to do something wrong to justify his wife's affair. When he eventually does, the ramifications are enormous. Faithless is riveting and very much in keeping with the Bergman oeuvre, here expressed through the sensitive, restrained direction of Liv Ullman. --Christina McLoughlin
Release Date: Aug 20, 2001 Subtitles: English
Used Price: £9.99 List Price: £9.99
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