The Passion of Anna
Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson,
Bergman’s second color film is one of his most economical—spare, straightforward, but in no sense lightweight. Four people have escaped to a remote island off the Swedish mainland but find that they cannot escape the injustice, violence, and guilt of modern life. An intricate four-way relationship among Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, and Liv Ullmann is played out against a mysterious situation in which an anonymous sadist is killing animals on the island. Bergman interrupts the narrative with two unusual devices that only serve to increase the profundity—and believability—of the film: each character is given a lengthy passage in which to reveal the most important incident in his or her life; and each actor has a moment in which to comment on the role being played.