The significance of the Swedish Film Institute’s newly-minted restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s The Touch – at a time when the director’s work is enjoying one of its periodic re-appraisals – is that the film was a US-Swedish co-production with dialogue originally in Swedish as well as English, as appropriate. Unfortunately, this version has long been unavailable, supplanted by prints in which Max von Sydow and Bibi Andersson illogically talk to each other in English. This has looked particularly ludicrous when the film has been aired on Swedish TV. With the original soundtrack lost somewhere in LA, the SFI resorted to its own uniquely surviving distribution print and a 16mm copy in Bergman’s own private collection to resurrect the authentic track. Is it worth it? Well, of course. A story of human relationships told with great intimacy and sensitivity, The Touch centres on Anna (Andersson), a middle-class Swedish housewife with a busy husband (von Sydow), who has an affair with a stimulating but neurotic and slightly oafish archaeologist, David (Elliott Gould). She thinks she can keep them both. ‘It is possible to live two lives and slowly combine them in one good, wise life,’ she says to David, but she pays the penalty of leading a double life… This complex triangle is acted out with superb skill and subtlety by the three principals, and with the film’s integrity now re-instated by Sweden’s archivists, The Touch stands out as a major work of Bergman’s mature years. —bfi
The most famed and honored filmmaker ever to emerge from the nation of Sweden – and regarded by many as one of the three or four most brilliant directors of the 20th century – Ingmar Bergman radically altered the nature and meaning of the motion-picture form, transfiguring a medium long devoted to spectacle into an art capable of profoundly personal meditations into the myriad struggles facing the psyche and the soul. By focusing on the exploration of self with unparalleled intensity, Bergman brought to the screen a new sense of emotional intimacy, fusing the concepts behind Freudian psychotherapy with a dreamlike sensibility founded on visual metaphors, flashbacks, and extreme close-ups to create a revelatory cinematic world unlike any before it.
Born Ernst Ingmar Bergman on July 14, 1918, in Uppsala, Sweden, he followed a brief 1938 military stay by attending Stockholm University. While there, he staged his first plays, among them adaptations of Macbeth, August Strindberg’s… read more
Finally managed to track this down. A strange tonality throughout, but especially at the beginning. Perhaps a little stilted at times. That said, it was fascinating: the self-destructiveness of the Gould-Andersson relationship and von Sydow's extremely humane performance. I was won over. a 'PLAYFUL' Bergman film, if you can believe it--especially in the editing. I found it all the more interesting for its faults.
“The Touch” by Ingmar Bergman (1971) is a film about how the very experience of personal love can heal emotional trauma. Lover as a psychotherapist is not an easy role - in passionate love there is not enough distance for disinterested observation and understanding. But Karin (Bibi Andersson) is able to do the impossible – she transforms the very area of love between two into a magic point of sharing wisdom through her enduring and inexhaustible vulnerability. Her love toward her younger partner in existential encounter is a model of psychological wholeness – it includes romantic, sexual, motherly, purely emotional and intellectual aspects in tune with one another. Bergman demonstrates that sometimes separation of lovers is a victory of love, not a defeat. “The Touch” is Bergman’s “Hiroshima Mon Amour” – another film about personal love as psychotherapy. After finishing watching this film you again and again return to the meaning of the characters’ actions and emotions and the film’s visual symbolism, and understand more about their personalities and human life as an incredibly rich and beautiful philosophical drama. Please, visit www.actingpitpolitics to read articles about Bergman’s “Through Glass Darkly” (with analysis of shots from the film), and also analysis of films by Godard, Bunuel, Kurosawa, Alain Tanner, Resnais, Pasolini, Cavani, Bertolucci and Fassbinder. BY Victor Enyutin