The Info List - Autumn Sonata

Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(Swedish: Höstsonaten, German: Herbstsonate) is a 1978 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
and starring Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
and Lena Nyman. The movie tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter. It was Ingrid Bergman's last performance in a major theatrical feature film. Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
was Ingmar Bergman's last film made for the cinema. All his films from this point, even those eventually shown in theatres, were television productions.[1] It is generally well-regarded by critics.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Soundtrack 5 Reception 6 Awards and nominations 7 Remakes and stage adaptations 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links

Plot[edit] Eva (Liv Ullmann), wife of the village pastor, invites her mother Charlotte (Ingrid Bergman) for a visit to her village. She has not seen her for over seven years. Her mother is a world-renowned pianist, somewhat eccentric, aging, and has survived several husbands. Eva is not as talented as the mother (despite the fact that she has written two books, and has a passing ability at playing the piano). Eva's main concern is to be the mistress of her home, wife, mother, and loving sister. It is gradually learned through her dialogue with her mother that her life has had a large number of unfortunate setbacks: a husband (Halvar Björk) she respects, but does not really have affection for, their son drowned when only 4 years old, and Charlotte never appears to have loved Eva as a mother normally loves a daughter. As part of her day-to-day life, Eva takes care of her disabled and paralyzed sister Helena (Lena Nyman), whom she has taken out of the hospital into her own home. She appears to be the only person who can understand her sister's limited speech ability. The presence of Helena in Eva's house is shocking to the aging mother. She makes a gift of her own wrist watch to Helena, and listens to Eva playing Prelude No. 2 in A minor by Chopin. She immediately re-performs the same prelude after Eva finishes in her own preferred interpretation of the music. Before going to bed, Charlotte decides to make a gift of her own car to her daughter. She plans to take a flight home, and buy a new car for herself, as a measure of her altruism. At night, Charlotte wakes up from a nightmare: it seems that Eva is choking her. She gets up, goes into the living room and sees Eva there also awake and not sleeping. Mother and daughter begin an impassioned rediscovery and clarification of their past relationship. Eva's husband overhears this unexpectedly heightened exchange, but wisely decides not to participate and interfere. Hearing this impassioned exchange, her disabled younger sister painfully forces herself out of her bed and starts crawling up to the stairs to where Eva and Charlotte are arguing. Upon reaching the landing she starts shouting, "Mama, come!" In the morning Charlotte prepares for her departure. Eva goes to the grave of her departed son, and her husband ineffectively tries to soothe her ailing sister. Charlotte asks for a friend to escort her away by train. While speaking to her friend on the train, she begins to question the unfortunate fate of her disabled and paralyzed daughter, asking the unanswerable questions: "Why couldn't she die? ...." Her older daughter sends her mother a letter starting with the words: "I realize that I wronged you." The mother reads the letter in which her daughter, in its conclusion, leaves open the possibility of a future reconciliation as the film ends. Cast[edit]

Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
as Charlotte Andergast Liv Ullmann
Liv Ullmann
as Eva Lena Nyman
Lena Nyman
as Helena Halvar Björk as Viktor Marianne Aminoff
Marianne Aminoff
as Charlotte's private secretary Arne Bang-Hansen as Uncle Otto Gunnar Björnstrand
Gunnar Björnstrand
as Paul Erland Josephson
Erland Josephson
as Josef Georg Løkkeberg
Georg Løkkeberg
as Leonardo Mimi Pollak as Piano instructor Linn Ullmann
Linn Ullmann
as Eva as a child

Production[edit] Due to his battle with the Swedish tax authorities at the time,[n 1] Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
produced Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
through his West German company, Personafilm GmbH, with main financing from Lew Grade's British ITC Film, and shot the film in an old film studio outside Oslo
in Norway.[2] Although formally a German production (with the German title, Herbstsonate, being the official original title), the dialogue is in Swedish, most of the crew and actors were Swedish,[3] and the world premiere was in Stockholm.[4] Peter Cowie in the notes to the Criterion DVD edition of the film summarizes the production, stating: "Shot in Norway, with British and American backing, and featuring Swedish dialogue, Autumn Sonata emerged from one of the darkest spells in Ingmar Bergman’s life. In 1976 he had gone into voluntary exile in Munich after being accused of evading tax on the income from certain films... Autumn Sonata... marks the swan song of Ingrid Bergman’s career, fulfilled his long-held desire to make a film with his namesake."[5] Soundtrack[edit] The piano piece played in the film is Chopin's Prelude No. 2 in A minor. Reception[edit] In the Chicago Reader, Dave Kehr opined that Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
"makes good chamber music: it's a crafted miniature with Bergman's usual bombast built, for once, into the plot requirements."[6] Conversely, Gary Arnold of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
felt that its story was "a dubious variation on familiar neurotic themes" in Bergman's work, but also wrote that "one can be impressed by Bergman's instrumentalists while rejecting his composition. [...] "Autumn Sonata" enjoys instant status as an acting showcase."[7] Retrospective evaluation is favorable. In 2002, Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club wrote, "When it was released in 1978, Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
received positive to indifferent reviews, written off by many as a minor work from a great director. [...] With the burden of high expectations lifted, Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
can finally be seen as an austerely beautiful meditation on death and the not-always-realized possibility of reconciliation across generations."[8] The film currently has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[9] Awards and nominations[edit] The film won the 1979 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for Academy Awards
Academy Awards
for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Ingrid Bergman) and Best Original Screenplay. Remakes and stage adaptations[edit]

Tehzeeb (2003) is a Hindi film inspired by Autumn Sonata. In September 2008 a theatrical version entitled Sonata de otoño was performed in Madrid. A stage adaptation was performed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre
Royal Dramatic Theatre
in Stockholm in 2009 with Marie Göranzon
Marie Göranzon
and Maria Bonnevie.[10] In April 2011, a new theatrical adaptation of Autumn Sonata, based on Bergman's original screenplay, had its World Premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT, directed by Robert Woodruff. In 2017, a Swedish-language opera Höstsonaten was premièred at the Finnish National Opera. The music is composed by Sebastian Fagerlund and the libretto by Gunilla Hemming is based upon Bergman’s screenplay.[11]


^ Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
is the second of Bergman's three films produced during his exile from Sweden, after 1977's The Serpent's Egg and before 1980's From the Life of the Marionettes.


^ Nehme, Farran Smith. "Autumn Sonata: Mothers, Daughters, and Monsters". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 21 October 2014.  ^ Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Face to Face: Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
- Shooting the film Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-07-11 ^ Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Face to Face: Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
- Cast and credits Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-07-11 ^ Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Face to Face: Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
- Film facts Archived 29 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2011-07-11 ^ Criterion Collection essay by Peter Cowie ^ Kehr, Dave. "Autumn Sonata". Chicago Reader. Retrieved January 16, 2017.  ^ Arnold, Gary (November 15, 1978). "'Autumn': Spellbinding Stars". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2017.  ^ Phipps, Keith (March 29, 2002). " Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(VHS & DVD)". Onion Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2017.  ^ " Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(1978)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 16, 2017.  ^ Sörenson, Margareta (2009-11-16). "Höstsonaten / Dramaten". expressen.se. Retrieved 6 March 2015.  ^ Kvist, Wilhelm (3 September 2017). "Publiken blir vampyrer och flygeln ett monster". Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish). pp. 34–35. 

External links[edit]

Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
on IMDb Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
at the Swedish Film Institute Database Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
at AllMovie Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
at the TCM Movie Database Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
at Rotten Tomatoes Criterion Collection essay by Peter Cowie

v t e

Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Foreign Film – Foreign Language 1965–1972

Juliet of the Spirits (1965) A Man and a Woman
A Man and a Woman
(1966) Live for Life (1967) War and Peace (1968) Z (1969) Rider on the Rain
Rider on the Rain
(1970) The Policeman
The Policeman
(1971) The Emigrants (1972) The New Land
The New Land

Foreign Film 1973–1985

The Pedestrian (1973) Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage
(1974) Lies My Father Told Me
Lies My Father Told Me
(1975) Face to Face (1976) A Special Day
A Special Day
(1977) Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(1978) La Cage aux Folles (1979) Tess (1980) Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire
(1981) Gandhi (1982) Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander
(1983) A Passage to India (1984) The Official Story
The Official Story

Foreign Language Film 1986–present

The Assault (1986) My Life as a Dog
My Life as a Dog
(1987) Pelle the Conqueror
Pelle the Conqueror
(1988) Cinema Paradiso (1989) Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) Europa Europa
Europa Europa
(1991) Indochine (1992) Farewell My Concubine (1993) Farinelli (1994) Les Misérables (1995) Kolya
(1996) Ma vie en rose (1997) Central Station (1998) All About My Mother
All About My Mother
(1999) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
(2000) No Man's Land (2001) Talk to Her (2002) Osama (2003) The Sea Inside
The Sea Inside
(2004) Paradise Now
Paradise Now
(2005) Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
(2006) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir
(2008) The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon
(2009) In a Better World
In a Better World
(2010) A Separation (2011) Amour (2012) The Great Beauty
The Great Beauty
(2013) Leviathan (2014) Son of Saul
Son of Saul
(2015) Elle (2016) In the Fade (2017)

v t e

Ingmar Bergman


Films directed

Crisis (1946) It Rains on Our Love (1946) A Ship Bound for India (1947) Music in Darkness
Music in Darkness
(1948) Port of Call (1948) Prison (1949) Thirst (1949) To Joy (1950) This Can't Happen Here (1950) Summer Interlude
Summer Interlude
(1951) Secrets of Women
Secrets of Women
(1952) Summer with Monika
Summer with Monika
(1953) Sawdust and Tinsel
Sawdust and Tinsel
(1953) A Lesson in Love
A Lesson in Love
(1954) Dreams (1955) Smiles of a Summer Night
Smiles of a Summer Night
(1955) The Seventh Seal
The Seventh Seal
(1957) Wild Strawberries (1957) Brink of Life
Brink of Life
(1958) The Magician (1958) The Virgin Spring
The Virgin Spring
(1960) The Devil's Eye
The Devil's Eye
(1960) Through a Glass Darkly (1961) Winter Light
Winter Light
(1963) The Silence (1963) All These Women
All These Women
(1964) Persona (1966) Hour of the Wolf
Hour of the Wolf
(1968) Shame (1968) The Rite (1969) The Passion of Anna
The Passion of Anna
(1969) The Touch (1971) Cries and Whispers
Cries and Whispers
(1972) Scenes from a Marriage
Scenes from a Marriage
(1973) The Magic Flute (1975) Face to Face (1976) The Serpent's Egg (1977) Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
(1978) From the Life of the Marionettes
From the Life of the Marionettes
(1980) Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander
(1982) After the Rehearsal
After the Rehearsal
(1984) The Blessed Ones
The Blessed Ones
(1986) In the Presence of a Clown
In the Presence of a Clown
(1997) Saraband

Films written

Torment (1944) Woman Without a Face (1947) Eva (1948) While the City Sleeps (1950) Divorced (1951) Last Pair Out (1956) The Pleasure Garden (1961) The Best Intentions
The Best Intentions
(1992) Sunday's Children
Sunday's Children
(1992) Private Confessions (1996) Faithless (2000)


The Making of Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander

Short films

"Daniel" in Stimulantia
(1967) Karin's Face (1986)

Television theatre

Mr. Sleeman Is Coming (1957) The Venetian (1958) Rabies (1958) The Image Makers (2000)

Related topics

Bergman Week Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Makes a Movie The Dove The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Award Bibliography


Erik Bergman (father) Dag Bergman (brother) Margareta Bergman (sister) Lena Bergman
Lena Bergman
(daughter) Eva Bergman (daughter) Mats Bergman (son) Anna Bergman (daughter) Daniel Bergman
Daniel Bergman
(son) Linn Ullman