- For the Baroque dance and its corresponding musical form, see Sarabande. For the 1948 film, see Saraband for Dead Lovers.
Saraband (2003) is a Swedish telemovie by film director Ingmar Bergman and his last theatrically released work. The film is a sequel to Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (1973), bringing back to the screen the characters of Johan and Marianne, played by Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann respectively. In July 2005 Saraband was released theatrically in the United States with subtitles in English.
, Marianne travels into the country to the home of her ex-husband, and father daughters Martha and Sara, Johan. Johan is undergoing a family crisis with his insolvent and needy son, Henrik, and granddaughter, Karin. Karin is nineteen years old, and Henrik asks Johan for an advance on his inheritance so that Henrik can buy Karin an old Fagnola cello, to make a better impression at the audition for the European music conservatory. The elderly Johan decides to consider the offer and to contact the cello dealer personally. While Henrik is away tending to the orchestra he conducts in Uppsala, Johan has a private meeting with Karin informing her of an offer proposed by Ivan Chablov, head conductor in the St. Petersburg orchestra and old friend of Johan, to have Karin join him at a prestigious school in Helsinki. While considering this offer Karin also finds an old letter from her departed mother Anna written to Henrik a week prior to her death. In the letter, Anna asks Henrik to relieve Karin of the unhealthy control he holds over her as her cello teacher. When Henrik encounters Karin again upon his arrival from Uppsala, where he no longer holds a position as concertmaster, he attempts to convince Karin into performing a concert of Bach's Cello Suites with him. She finally confronts him about her feelings regarding his control over her and tells him of her decision to take an opportunity to study with her friend Emma in Hamburg under Claudio Abbado. The final request by Henrik is that Marianne play the 5th Saraband (possibly from the same Bach's Cello Suites) that she already knows./
We encounter Marianne and Johan some time later after Karin has already left for Hamburg. Marianne recives a phonecall stating that Henrik had been found in the hospital having had attempted suicide with pills and by cutting his wrists and throat. In the next scene a pained Johan suffering from a sort of anxiety attack seeks out Marianne and eventually disrobes along with her and joins her in bed.
Next, Marianne is holding a still of the couple in bed and explaining what happened following that episode. She explains how Johan and her had kept contact until one day she was no longer able to contact him. She thinks again of the departed Anna and recollects a visit to her ill daughter Martha. She explains the contact she shared with her daughter and how she had never really been able to touch her before this moment.
The movie opens with the camera on Marianne standing by a table covered with photographs. It is a well lit room, and she addresses the viewer as though invited to come in. She picks one picture up after another; they are organised in no particular order, being just heaped all over the table. Some make her smile, or merely elicit a comment or a sigh. But then she picks up a photograph of her husband, prompting her to reminisce about how they had been happy more or less, and how they'd broken up. She goes on to recall how his second marriage with another woman failed, while she was already married with a second husband herself, and then when her second husband died (by flying a plane off somewhere and disappearing), she reflects that it would be nice to see her first husband again.
In January 2006, the American newspaper USA Today
suggested that Börje Ahlstedt
should be nominated for an Oscar
as Best supporting actor
for his role in Saraband
, with the comment "He shows you what it's like to be an aging version of a man who was already broken in his 20s."