Film: Autumn Sonata

Film - Feature | February 17 | 6 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

After the screening, enjoy a Film to Table dinner at Babette, the cafe at BAMPFA. Join an intimate group of fellow filmgoers for a four-course, prix-fixe meal in a convivial, dinner-party atmosphere. Purchase dinner tickets in advance at babettecafe.com (film tickets must be purchased separately).

The warm autumnal hues of a house on a lake give a false, perhaps wished-for sense of security to the setting, the home of a pastor and his wife, Eva (Liv Ullmann). Very soon the steely tone of love avoided, attempted, and denied overrides any hope. The arrival of Eva’s mother (Ingrid Bergman), a world-traveling concert pianist, for their first meeting in seven years occasions a near-complete opening out of feelings by daughter and mother. Near complete, for Ingrid Bergman subtly portrays the mother’s love, grief, and guilt as mercurial posturings of a virtuoso performer. The better for our understanding of Eva’s sense of abandonment and loss, conveyed in Ullmann’s bruising honesty and echoed in the utterings of Eva’s disabled sister, Helena. Bergman uses a formal combination of flashback tableau and piercing close-up to answer the daughter’s worst fear—that her grief is her mother’s secret pleasure—with the reality of indifference.

- Judy Bloch

 bampfa@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0808