Sunday, 7 September 2014

After the Rehearsal [1984]

In the television film After the Rehearsal Bergman provided a scorching look into how an artist’s mind works, and hence, in turn, a compelling account of his own creative processes, existential and philosophical questions, and inner turmoil. Glum, bleak, stark, austere, and tightly constructed both spatially and temporally, this was a deeply personal work, as most of his films were, that viewers, unaccustomed to his style, are bound to find difficult. It comprised of just 3 characters – Henrik Vogler (Erland Josephson), a veteran and renowned theatre director who’s planning to stage August Strindberg’s A Dream Play, Anna Egerman (Lena Olin), the strikingly beautiful, talented and deeply conflicted lead actress in the production, and Rakel Egerman (Ingrid Thulin), a now deceased and self-destructive has-been star of the stage, Anna’s mother and Henrik’s former mistress. Set over a couple of hours within the sets of the play, the narrative alternately switched between Henrik’s ‘actual’ interactions with Anna and his ‘dream’ conversations with Rakel. A wide array of themes were covered in the short timespan – the cruel process of ageing if you’re in showbiz, tempestuous artist-muse relationships, reflections on the life gone by, collision between personal and professional lives, the nuances of performance on stage, existential crises, the tussle between love and lust, and so forth. All the 3 performances were superb – Josephson in his restraint, arrogance, melancholia and ennui, Olin in her inner emotional conflicts and fragility, awareness of her sensuality, and her unresolved relationship with her mother who she admired and despised, and Thulin in her volatility, instability, and inability in accepting the disintegration of her physical beauty and breakdown of her career.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama
Language: Swedish
Country: Sweden

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