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Face to Face Movie Review

awards jenny ullmann bergman

Face to Face is an unrelieved downer, but a brilliant one. Liv Ullman plays Jenny, a psychiatrist with a dull, mean family, who tries to kill herself. She is saved by a fellow doctor (Erland Josephson) with problems of his own: his young male lover just left him for a wealthy female patron. Jenny's world is SO unpleasant: her grandmother leaves her alone when she is ill, her husband flies back from America for ONE day after her suicide attempt, her daughter reproaches her with the information that her mother never really liked her anyway, Josephson leaves for Jamaica the day after her life-and-death crisis, Jenny is robbed and nearly raped when she tries to help a young patient…surprisingly, her suicide attempt has nothing to do with any of these situations. She is seeking, rather, the rare ability to FEEL things, truly and deeply. Her voyage through a terrible crisis forces her to test and tap this ability in a way she's never done before. Ingmar Bergman is at his most personal and self revealing here, and Sven Nykvist draws us into Jenny's electrifying world with harsh-tender close-ups. The picture ends on a sad, but hopeful note; its final image of two elderly people caressing one another was quite complete without Jenny's commentary: “Love embraces everything, even death.” AKA: Ansikte mot Ansikte.

1976 136m/C SW Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Aino Taube-Henrikson, Sven Lindberg, Kary Sylway, Sif Ruud; D: Ingmar Bergman; W: Ingmar Bergman; C: Sven Nykvist. Golden Globe Awards ‘77: Best Foreign Film; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards ‘76: Best Actress (Ullmann), Best Foreign Film; National Board of Review Awards ‘76: Best Actress (Ullmann); New York Film Critics Awards ‘76: Best Actress (Ullmann); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘76: Best Actress (Ullmann), Best Director (Bergman). VHS

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