Review of The Passion of Anna (1969)
Seen in 2016.
Bergman over-indulges with his favourite actors and subjects: murky introversion, info dumps, separation anxiety, nothing happening, Max von Sydow suddenly blurting out that he’s worried about cancer because it’s a Bergman film and he’s got to be worried about one heavy subject or another. The superficial plot of mass cruelty to animals is predictably unresolved.
Given the poetic misuse of Fårö as a wasteland and the ambiguous fourth-wall playfulness that Abbas Kiarostami would inherit, the most interesting thing about En passion is the use of police officers doing their job in several scenes. The presence of the officers threatens to puncture the theatrical bubble of the five central characters, indicating the existence of an outside world. However, in the final appearance of these officers, Bergman gets the best of them, subjugating them as too-silent extras to his characterizations of Winkelman and Andersson.