by Greg Muskewitz
To re-emphasize how easy it is to find adultery and affairs in movies, and with another foreign film nonetheless, the Swedish drama "Faithless" opts for another unconventional story surrounding the events, but is not even a fraction as successful."Faithless" reaches for the unexplainable, the inability to translate it completely, not by language, but by comprehension, and its main goal is that of coveting itself as a riddle. Actress Liv Ullmann often collaborated with revered director Ingmar Bergman, and I must admit my handicap of having missed an era of film in which Bergman was as prominent a figure as he was. My judgment solely relies on this movie itself, and when the press kit notifies me that this is "filled with references to Bergman’s films and to his life as a man and an artist," I know that I am missing out. The late-Bergman’s script for this movie is directed by his staple actress, and the mystery that "Faithless" inhabits is the role in which the character of Bergman, played by Erland Josephson, is actually based on and its significance. The Bergman portrayed is a solitary old man whose rumination and imagination filled the movie as he mentally creates or revives a woman named Marianne (Lena Endre). He speaks to her as if she was there, almost as if this was a ritual that Bergman traditionalized to create his screenplays. He has Marianne, an actress, retell the story and events during a segment in her life where she had an affair and the after effects that it had on her, her musical genius husband Markus (Thomas Hanzon), her daughter (Michelle Gylemo) and her lover David (Krister Henriksson). For awhile, this builds into a promising and unique premise, but the then over-amplification of psychiatric-like meetings and counseling and the trivial and pedestrian matter of the affair are drowned in a mawkish, morose and unendurable pacing. The mystery of who Marianne really was to Bergman, why he had a picture of her daughter in his drawer, and what the impact was of all this in real life begins to lose steam. There is far too much served to us with no answers. Instead of creating awe, by leaving our heads in the fog, it becomes disinteresting, and the movie, at 154-minutes crawls at a pace much slower to that of "Unbreakable," which wasn’t quite 120-minutes. Lena Endre gives an unrestrained and powerful performance; her presence is only sterilized by that fact that the movie so constantly alienates her from its environment. When Endre roars, you feel it, and when she cries, you don’t doubt that she isn’t putting herself through some sort of hell to achieve it. As "Faithless" explores the infidelity, it does not deserve what Endre brings to it. Similarly, it does not deserve the serene, picturesque cinematography by Jörgen Persson. Beyond calling it a bore, and illustrating how it is not patible, I will one day have to force myself to re-watch it once I have been educated and enlightened in Ingmar Bergman’s career.
http://www.landmark-theatres.comFinal Verdict: D.
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originally posted: 02/22/01 16:45:23