Directed by Liv Ullmann, starring Lena Endre, Erland Josephson, Krister Henriksson, Thomas Hanzon and Michelle Glyemo.
Written by Ingmar Bergman and partly based on an experience in his own life, 'Faithless' is a deeply disturbing insight into marriage breakup and the paybacks from infidelity.
An ageing writer called Bergman (Josephson) is struggling in his isolated beach house to complete a script about a love story when he is visited by a woman called Marianne (Endre). Marianne is an actress, her husband Markus (Hanzon) a world famous conductor, and the two share a - seemingly - idyllic life with their young daughter Isabelle (Glyemo). Both husband and wife act as supports and confidantes to their long-time friend David (Henriksson), who is twice divorced, heavily in debt and wallowing in the depths of depression. But while Marianne describes the relationship between herself and David as that of a brother and sister, he wants more.
At over 150 minutes, 'Faithless' is heavy going, but the themes are so deep and affecting that it's difficult to lose interest in Ullmann's depiction of three adults tearing themselves and a child apart. Told through flashbacks, the story doesn't so much move as brood, dwelling on comments and situations, which will hold a deep resonance in the characters' lives at a latter stage. From the outset you know that things will end badly, but Ullmann's ability to shift your sympathies between the various characters in different scenes means that you can't second guess just how the plot and the protagonists will unravel. Through all the deception and desire, Endre is hypnotic as a woman with a huge amount of history but only a small quantity of hope written on her face. She moves between her guises as wife, mother and lover with a quiet dignity throughout, her monologues revealing someone who knew they were mapping out their own destruction, but was too lost in the moment to do anything about it.
By the finale you're as drained as she is, but while moved by her plight you're convinced that the biggest loser is Isabella - the most valuable pawn in a very adult game. 'Faithless' is a journey worth taking, but it's best to travel alone.