Face to Face, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Face to Face is hard to watch but still rewarding.
It is included on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made list:
Ingmar Bergman is the director and often writer of a long list of masterpieces, not just very good movies:
- The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Virgin Spring, Persona, Fanny and Alexander, Scenes From a Marriage and more
The Norwegian Actress Liv Ullman has the leading role in Face to Face and nine other Ingmar Bergman films:
- Cries and Whispers, the Passion of Anna, Shame- with Max von Sydow, Scenes From a Marriage…
This film was nominated for two Academy Awards, in the year when a film that I personally reject won Best Picture, Director and more- Rocky.
The Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role was won by Faye Dunaway, for her very good performance in Network.
But Liv Ullman was just as good in her portrayal of Dr. Jenny Isaksson.
The film is thought provoking.
But it is painful to watch.
At least for long periods.
Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist.
One of her most important cases is Maria.
But the doctor herself has a breakdown.
She is attacked, abused and raped by two men.
After this, the horrible act haunts the woman.
The abuse and the death of relatives make her mad.
If not totally crazy, the doctor has trouble coping.
It is a case of PTSD and not PTG.
In most cases, after a trauma, what victims experience is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is very frequent.
There is however an alternative called Post Traumatic Growth that can take place after an adverse event.
Jenny Isaksson though is in terrible pain.
It is hard to watch her intense torment.
From the bad smell of old people to unfortunate experiences in childhood, she remembers or just imagines terrible things.
Dr. Tomas Jacobi, portrayed by another magnificent actor that is very present in the Bergman masterpieces, tries to help.
There even seems to be a possibility of an affair.
Then suddenly the heroine tries to commit suicide.
It is Tomas Jakobi that saves her.
- “Dr. Jenny Isaksson: Do you think I'm emotionally crippled for life? Do you think we're a million army of emotionally crippled people, wretches who wander around shouting to each other with words we don’t understand and that make us even more scared?
- Dr. Jenny Isaksson: You become grateful for the horrors you're familiar with. The unknown horrors are worse.”