THE SERPENT’S EGG
1977, Park Circus/MGM, 118 min, USA/West Germany, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

A large U.S./West German co-production shot entirely in English with a fascinating mystery at the center of its plot, THE SERPENT’S EGG is an underappreciated anomaly in Bergman’s filmography. Starring David Carradine alongside Bergman regular Liv Ullmann, the film takes place in 1920s Berlin, as Nazi sentiment was beginning to brew just below the surface of German society. While it was originally panned by critics (perhaps due to its significant departure from his other work), the film offers an honest reflection on the director’s early memories of fascism during his time in Germany as a teenager.


FACE TO FACE
ANSIKTE MOT ANSIKTE
1976, Paramount, 136 min, Sweden/USA, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

After a prolonged stint in television, Bergman returned to the big screen with a decidedly dark film even by his standards, fusing such familiar themes as the troubles of marriage, mental illness and death. This intense drama tells the story of two psychiatrists (Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson) bound by the institution of marriage and nothing more, as Ullmann’s tormented psyche gradually envelopes the film’s material reality to reveal a desperately lonely inner world. Featuring what Roger Ebert called “one of the greatest performances in an Ingmar Bergman film,” FACE TO FACE takes the legendary collaboration with Ullmann to bold new heights.


THE MAGICIAN
ANSIKTET
1958, Janus Films, 101 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

This engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema’s premier illusionists stars Max von Sydow as Dr. Vogler, a 19th-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions, whose magic is put to the test in Stockholm by the cruel, eminently rational royal medical adviser Dr. Vergérus. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot in rich, gorgeously gothic black-and-white.


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