“Set a tiny step into the future, the film has the inevitability of a common dream. . . . One of Bergman's greatest films, [and] one of the least known” (Pauline Kael). With a civil war in their country, a couple (Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann), both musicians, retreat to a remote island to grow fruit and cultivate their mutual love. But war overtakes them, exacting its total surrender of pride, privacy, and finally, principle. Bergman spoke movingly of a Vietnam War newsreel that inspired him to make Shame: “An old man and woman were walking with a cow. . . . And all of a sudden, a helicopter . . . started up and began making a racket . . . and the cow tore itself loose, and the old woman dashed away after the cow, and the helicopter rose and rose, and this old man just stood there, completely nonplussed and utterly confused and desperate. And, somehow, more than all the atrocities I've seen, I experienced that third party's misery, when everything breaks loose over his head.”

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