Saturday, May 7, 2011
SHAME (1968, SWEDEN), THE PASSION OF ANNA (1969, SWEDEN), SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (1973, SWEDEN)
The 1001 blogger has decided to watch as many films as he can from one of his favorite filmmakers, Ingmar Bergman. He knows despite the potential positive aspects of such an adventure, this road may be fraught with just as much potential for emotional distress. This is his third scheduled session, and has been told that a specialist will be brought in this week to evaluate him.
(The 1001 blogger enters the office, but the specialist chosen to evaluate him this week has her back to him.)
1001 blogger: Hello, I’m here for my session.
(She turns around to shake his hand. After recognizing the doctor, he gasps.)
1001 blogger: What are you doing here? I was supposed to meet with a specialist today. What’s going on?
Blogger’s Wife: I’m your specialist. Why don’t you have a seat and we can get started.
1001 blogger: What the hell are you talking about? You’re my wife! You aren’t a psychologist!
Blogger’s Wife: I was going to surprise you. I got an online degree in psychology over the Internet. Only took six weeks and only cost me, or should I say cost you 500 dollars. You’re actually my first patient. Now if you’d be so kind to sit your butt down, we’ll begin.
(The 1001 blogger sits down and mops his brow with a handkerchief.)
1001 blogger: I’m trying to take all this in. Even if you have a degree, which sounds dubious to me, you can’t be my doctor. We’re married! It’s a conflict of interest.
Blogger’s Wife: (Sitting down) Don’t underestimate me. I can be totally professional. I’m your doctor for this session, not your wife.
1001 blogger: Professional? You’ve been a psychologist for all of five minutes. With a degree from K-Mart!
Bloggers’s Wife: I’ll ignore your barbs for the time being. I realize that’s just some kind of misplaced aggression talking. Besides, I’ll have you know that I’ve looked thoroughly into your case and have done my research. I’ve watched all your Bergman films, even Persona. I’m quite thorough, I tell you.
1001 blogger: So that’s why my DVD’s were always out of their cases. I thought I was imagining things.
Blogger’s Wife: Tell me how you’re feeling.
1001 blogger: Feeling? Like I keep getting spat upon and now I’m drowning in the spittle.
Blogger’s Wife: Interesting. (Begins writing on notepad while reading it aloud) Patient throwing himself pity party.
1001 blogger: What kind of thing is that to say? You aren’t supposed to insult me, ahem, doctor.
Blogger’s Wife: Sorry, tell me about the first movie.
1001 blogger: Very well. The first film was Shame. Very powerful. The disintegration of a couple during wartime. How we lose ourselves, both individually and collectively.
Blogger’s Wife: Do you feel you’re losing yourself in these ways?
1001 blogger: You see, that’s the problem with having my wife as my analyst. If I were to think of something that could be construed as critical to you, I might be hesitant to say so.
Blogger’s Wife: Don’t continue to insult me and my profession! I am strictly your doctor at this moment.
1001 blogger: Fine. Fine. You’re my doctor.
Blogger’s Wife: What about the next one?
1001 blogger: The next one. That would be The Passion of Anna. Even stranger. I didn’t like the fact it was in color, but that’s just a personal bias since I am use to black and white Bergman films. More disintegration of character, of the soul. Very bleak. Hard to fathom at times, yet pretty powerful.
Blogger’s Wife: Do you consider yourself passionate?
1001 blogger: Yes, I do.
(The Blogger’s Wife snickers as she jots down some notes.)
1001 blogger: I heard that! That’s very unprofessional of you to laugh at me!
Blogger’s Wife: I didn’t laugh. I just have the sniffles. Let’s just move on. Any more movies this week?
1001 blogger: Scenes From a Marriage. Very different than what I’ve been watching from Bergman. Enlightening, though it really shouldn’t be surprising that couples can be horrible to each other and still love each other or want to be divorced and still be together. Relationships are complex. It’s like the joke about the guy whose Uncle thinks he’s a chicken and won’t send him to a psychiatrist because he needs the eggs. Relationships are like that. We go through them because we need the eggs.
Blogger’s Wife: Did you make that up?
1001 blogger: (Realizing that his wife has never seen Annie Hall) Um, Yeah, I made that up.
Blogger’s Wife: Sounds kind of stupid.
1001 blogger: Hey! Is a doctor supposed to call their patient stupid?
Blogger’s Wife: (Whispering) Sorry, I’m new at this.
1001 blogger: So have you gained any insight into your patient, doctor?
Blogger’s Wife: Yes, yes. Very much. Oh, and I’ve noticed in watching these films, Bergman has a lot of beautiful women in them.
1001 blogger: Like Bibi Andersson, circa 1957.
Blogger’s Wife: Yes. Tell me, if you went back in a time machine to 1957, would you have sex with Bibi Andersson. Be honest.
1001 blogger: (thinking) Honestly…yes.
Blogger’s Wife: (surprised) Oh, really! What about Ingrid Thulin, 1961?
1001 blogger: Yes. Definitely, yes.
Blogger’s Wife: Harriet Andersson?
1001 blogger: Certainly.
Blogger’s Wife: Liv Ullman?
1001 blogger: Hell, yes!
(The blogger’s wife puts down her notepad and pulls out a Lucky Strike from a cigarette case that she has had concealed in her pocket. She lights it up and proceeds to take a long drag.)
1001 blogger: What are you doing? My wife doesn’t smoke!
Blogger’s Wife: (She blows smoke out of her nostrils which makes her resemble a mad bull) No, but your doctor does!
1001 blogger: What is this? You can’t really be jealous about a ridiculously hypothetical question…I thought we were beginning to make a breakthrough here!
Blogger’s Wife: No, I’m afraid you’re far sicker than I ever imagined. You need to come back next week, but I’m several weeks of study away from having the expertise to deal with a patient like you at this point. You’ll need someone more advanced.
1001 blogger: You mean someone with a degree they didn’t get from answering an ad off a book of matches?
Blogger’s Wife: Don’t get smart with me!
1001 blogger: Sorry. A practical question before I leave. What’s for dinner?
Blogger’s Wife: (Putting out her cigarette into her notepad) I don’t know. Maybe you can travel back to 1957 and Bibi Andersson can cook you dinner!
(The 1001 blogger thinks it is time to leave and the doctor offers no resistance. He knows he only has a few Bergman films left, and hopes next week’s specialist might be able to offer better guidance.)
To Be Continued