Monday, June 08, 2015

All These Women

Directed by Ingmar Bergman and written by Bergman and Erland Josephson, For att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor (All These Women) is the story of a critic who is trying to write a biography on a cellist only to meet with the women in that man’s life. The film is essentially a parody of sorts of Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ where Bergman creates a comedy that plays into a man trying to get answers only for things to go incredibly wrong. Starring Harriet Andersson, Bibi Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck, and Jarl Kulle. For att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor is a silly yet exuberant film from Ingmar Bergman.

The film is a simple story about the four days in the life of a critic who is trying to write a biography of a renowned cellist whom he hopes to make into someone even greater. Instead, he encounters the many wives and mistresses of the cellist named Felix where hilarity ensues and all sorts of craziness. Most notably as the critic Cornelius (Jarl Kulle) who is a man of great importance but is also full of himself where his encounter with the wives and lovers of Felix overwhelm him while his attempts to meet the man himself become futile. The film’s screenplay by Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephson doesn’t really much of a plot as it favors more into Cornelius’ attempt to know who Felix is through his women as well as a few people who handle Felix’s business. The narrative moves back and forth into Cornelius’ visit as well as its aftermath where things don’t exactly go well for everyone.

Bergman’s direction is definitely a change of pace for the filmmaker who is often known for very serious and austere films that manages to question a lot. Here, he decides to take a change of pace and do something that is more fun and exuberant. Notably as it is shot largely in an estate where Bergman doesn’t really go for any kind of entrancing nor stylistic shots though he does create some unique compositions in how he places his actors in a close-up or a wide shot. At the same time, there is a looseness to the direction where Bergman just amps up the comedy where it does pay homage to the works of Federico Fellini where it is about chaos. The direction has moments of slapstick and scenes where the fourth wall is broken as it relates to Cornelius’ trying to make sense of everything. Yet, it does get overly silly where aspects of the story do get lost though it is probably what Bergman intended since the film is essentially something that isn’t very serious. Overall, Bergman creates a very lively and whimsical comedy about a critic’s attempt to capture a man’s life for a biography.

Cinematographer Sven Nykvist does excellent work with the film‘s colorful photography to play into the gorgeous look of the home as well as capture the vibrant colors of the costumes and some of the rooms. Editor Ulla Ryghe does nice work with the editing as it‘s stylish with some jump-cuts and other abrupt moments to play into the comedy. Production designer P.A. Lundgren does fantastic work with the look of the house as well as some of the rooms that play into the personalities of the characters. Costume designer Mago does brilliant work with the costumes in the design of the different dresses that the women wear to display their offbeat personalities. The sound work of Per-Olof Pettersson and Tage Sjoberg is terrific for some of the sound work and sound effects that is created for some of the film‘s comical moments. The film’s music by Erik Nordgren is wonderful as it’s mostly low-key in its string-based setting as much of the music consists of jazz and classical pieces.

The film’s marvelous cast includes a couple of notable small roles from Carl Billquist as a young cellist, Georg Funkquist as the estate’s head servant Tristan, and Allan Edwall as Felix’s business manager Jillker. In the role of Cornelius, Jarl Kulle is fantastic as this extremely smug and pretentious critic who gets more than he bargains for in his attempt to get to know the mysterious cellist Felix as that character is never seen in the film. Finally, there’s the seven wives and mistresses of the mysterious Felix as they give amazing performances with Barbo Hiort af Ornas as the talented Beatrice who wants to be accepted as a musician and Karin Kavli as the middle-aged Madame Tussaud who is Felix’s benefactor and supporter as she spends much of her time with Tristan. Mona Malm and Gertrud Fridh are brilliant in their respective roles as the very innocent Cecilia and mouthy Traviata as the latter is suspected of being the one trying to kill Felix.

Harriett Anderson is excellent as the maid Isolde as someone who knows what Felix wants as she is a very offbeat character that has her own quirks. Eva Dahlbeck is superb as the main wife Adelaide as the woman who sort of runs the house as she is also suspected of trying to kill her husband. Finally, there’s Bibi Andersson in a whimsical performance as the mistress Bumblebee who is a very lively woman that wears stylish clothes and carries a little dog.

For att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor is an enjoyable film from Ingmar Bergman. While it is a minor work of his as it is a very off-the-wall comedy that sort of makes fun of Federico Fellini. It is still an interesting and lively film that plays into a critic being overwhelmed by the women in the life of a reclusive cellist. In the end, For att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor is a worthwhile and stellar film from Ingmar Bergman.

Related: 8 1/2

Ingmar Bergman Films: (Crisis) - (It Rains on Our Love) - (A Ship to India) - (Music of Darkness) - (Port of Call) - (Prison) - (Thirst (1949 film)) - (To Joy) - (This Can’t Happen Here) - (Summer Interlude) - Secrets of Women - Summer with Monika - Sawdust & Tinsel - A Lesson in Love - Dreams - Smiles of a Summer Night - The Seventh Seal - (Mr. Sleeman is Coming) - Wild Strawberries - (The Venetian) - (Brink of Life) - (Rabies) - The Magician - The Virgin Spring - The Devil’s Eye - Through a Glass Darkly - Winter Light - The Silence - Persona - (Simulantia-Daniel) - Hour of the Wolf - (Shame (1968 film)) - (The Rite) - The Passion of Anna - (The Touch) - Cries & Whispers - Scenes from a Marriage (The Magic Flute) - (Face to Face) - (The Serpent’s Egg) - Autumn Sonata - From the Life of the Marionettes - Fanny & Alexander - (After the Rehearsal) - (Karin’s Face) - (The Blessed Ones) - (In the Presence of a Clown) - (The Image Makers) - Saraband

© thevoid99 2015


Ruth said...

Wow, I didn't expect something like this from Ingmar Bergman but it sounds delightful! I might give it a shot even if it's not one of his most regarded work.

thevoid99 said...

While I think of it as a minor Bergman film and the print that I saw on TCM wasn't that great. However, it was still enjoyable and a minor Bergman or a mediocre Bergman film is still better than a lot of other films.