Scenes from a Marriage is a drama tv mini-series signed by Hagai Levi produced by HBO. It is a remake of the eponymous Swedish mini-series by Ingmar Bergman, one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, which was shown in April 1973 and later edited into a feature film. This modern adaptation was presented at the Venice Film Festival, and the premiere episode arrived on television channels on September 12.
Levi’s adaptation follows a similar structure as the original, but instead focuses on two completely different characters and examines modern relationships with an emphasis on the success of monogamy in today’s world. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac interpret the married couple Mira and Jonathan, who at first glance have everything. Mira works in a management position in a successful company, while Jonathan is a university professor who spends much more time with their daughter Ava. They live in a beautiful home and have a functional relationship, but certain events will disrupt their stable marriage, which will begin to fall apart.
Bergman’s project is considered one of his best works. He based the script on his own experiences, among which his relationship with his muse and partner Liv Ullman, who starred in the mini-series, stands out. The six episodes covered a period of ten years, and apart from the international success with the audience and the criticism that culminated in the Golden Globe, it is believed that his mini-series significantly influenced the growing trend of divorce in Europe during that period. In 2003, Bergman recorded a sequel to Saraband.
Scenes from a Marriage Review, Plot
Given that the original was far ahead of its time and relevant fifty years later, the legitimate question is whether this remake was necessary at all. The understanding of the essence of advanced bourgeois marriage has been replaced by the influence of the change of traditional gender norms on heterosexual monogamous marriage, as well as the role of adultery in shaping the marital relationship. We get a detailed and layered presentation of betrayed marital expectations that invests enough time in the analysis of everything that makes a marriage and everything we look at is far from banal, which is to be commended.
Through five episodes, we follow the intimate stories of our protagonists from their life together. Although their marriage is recognizable as modern, progressive and idyllic, through confrontations with parenthood, careers, expectations and different needs, it begins to crack at the seams. Mira and Jonathan face the question of what a modern marriage should look like because their relationship is firmly rooted in the modernity that they managed to establish, but failed to get rid of traditional obligations. The series faces traditional gender roles and expectations, but also characters who are desperately trying to overcome imposed ideals.
From episode to episode, which takes place in one location, the series progresses through a series of gender and social issues and brings into focus the most important problems of modern relations. I would say that it is also provocative because it successfully entices the voyeur nature of the viewer to continue watching this intimate show. Practically the whole series comes down to dialogues and the script is full of cases in which we can see how the wrong choice of words can leave deep consequences and be harmful to the relationship. What we see has a painful realism and an almost unbearable intensity.
Almost the entire premise of the series depends on marriage as a performance because in each scene the viewer must understand who these people are as individuals, who these people are as part of a married couple and what they are like when they are alone, or when they do not represent another version to us or their spouse. yourself. In addition to top acting performances, the reason why this mini-series works are small details in the form of looks or small gestures that perfectly represent years of personal or shared history – the camera simply penetrates to the very soul of their marriage.
Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are very up to the task, and they are supported by the fact that they are attractive people with more than enough chemistry to enlighten and intrigue the viewer, as well as to give the impression that these characters have a history. While Isaac gave his character a winning combination of the “sweetness” of a modern dad and the smoldering of many emotions, Mira is an independent and ambitious woman who prefers the profession to social expectations, and is therefore forced to struggle with the role of motherhood in which she does not cope. just the best.
There are two sides to the coin in every marriage and relationship, so my problem with this filming is that almost all the problems we follow in the series are the product of Mira’s relatively hasty decisions, while Jonathan is presented as a character the audience obviously needs to sympathize with because he behaves. perfectly reasonable and calm, almost like a saint. As a result, the series was left without the complexity, humanity and emotional intensity that the original material was rich in because the dynamics became one-sided. However, that does not mean that this remake does not deserve its existence, especially because a good part of the viewers did not watch the original work.
Scenes from a Marriage is a contemporary look at Ingmar Bergman’s famous mini-series that brings a fresh and modern perspective to her exploration of love, resentment, loyalty and expectations – a sophisticated television drama with impressive performances by Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. Final rating: 8/10
Scenes from a Marriage cast and characters
- Oscar Isaac as Jonathan Levy
- Jessica Chastain as Mira Phillips
- Nicole Beharie as Kate
- Corey Stoll as Peter
- Sunita Mani as Danielle
- Shirley Rumierk as Dr. Varona
- Sophia Kopera as Ava Levy
- Anna Rust as Veronica
- Michael Aloni as Poli
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