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Autumn Sonata (1978)
Autumn Sonata (Swedish: Höstsonaten) is a 1978 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann and Lena Nyman. It tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter. It was Ingrid Bergman's last performance in a major theatrical feature film, and the film won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1979 Golden Globe Awards. The plot focuses on a prominent concert pianist, Charlotte Andergast (Ingrid Bergman), who has been neglectful and dismissive of her children, whom she has not seen in over seven years. Charlotte decides to make a visit to her eldest daughter, Eva (Liv Ullmann) at her remote house, where she lives with her husband, Viktor (Halvar Björk). Upon arrival, Charlotte discovers that her other daughter, Helena (Lena Nyman), who is mentally and physically disabled (and was placed in an institution by Charlotte) is living with and being taken care of by Eva.
Though Ingrid and Ingmar Bergman aren't related, their pairing on a movie set was a long-anticipated event -- each of their careers were marked by a certain Scandinavian iciness -- and it turned out to be a wholly successful one. Ingrid has a stubborn, indomitable attitude in the opening of the film that turns out to be only selfish shallowness - she resents being in the presence of Helena, and seems anxious to get away from Eva, who she always felt fell short of expectations. As each reveal the losses they've suffered and the slights they've felt, it slowly becomes clear that resentment has built up between them for years. But the brutality of Eva and Charlotte's final fight doesn't come from the noise they make - it's in the way their words cut. 'You should be hidden away and kept from doing others harm,' Eva tells her mother towards the end, and it seems to annihilate her.
There are very few outdoor shots, but though the film mostly takes place within the confines of the home, it doesn't feel claustrophobic. Ingmar suffuses the rooms of the house with bright red and orange light, which feels more cool than fiery. The idea seemed to be to relax the mood with something that felt like a sunset - something autumnal -- instead of underscoring the anger in the living room. Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann handled that just fine by themselves.