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Shame (1968 film)

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Theatrical poster
Directed byIngmar Bergman
Written byIngmar Bergman
StarringLiv Ullmann
Max von Sydow
Sigge Fürst
Gunnar Björnstrand
Ulf Johansson
CinematographySven Nykvist
Edited byUlla Ryghe
Cinematograph AB
Distributed bySvensk Filmindustri (Sweden)
Lopert Pictures Corporation (USA)
Release date
  • 29 September 1968 (1968-09-29)
Running time
103 minutes
Box office$250,000 (US)[1]

Shame (Swedish: Skammen) is a 1968 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow. Ullmann and von Sydow play Eva and Jan, former violinists, a politically uninvolved couple whose home comes under threat by civil war. They are accused by one side of sympathy for the enemy, and their marriage deteriorates while the couple flees. The story explores themes of shame, moral decline, self-loathing and violence.

The film was shot on Fårö, beginning in 1967, employing miniature models for the combat scenes. Shame was shot and released during the Vietnam War, although Bergman denied it was a commentary on the real-life conflict. He instead expressed interest in telling the story of a "little war".

Shame won a few honors, including for Ullmann's performance. It is sometimes considered the second in a series of thematically related films, preceded by Bergman's 1968 Hour of the Wolf, and followed by the 1969 The Passion of Anna.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Skammen, 1968 [Multi Subs]
  • Shame (1968) - U.S. trailer
  • Reel Wild Cinema - Episode 18: Hollywood Exposé
  • Shame - Directed by Tom Geens (Full Film)
  • Shame, Shame on the Bixby Boys (1978) Rare Movie


Want to know something? I had a real strange dream. Do you know what I dreamed? I dreamed we were back in the orchestra, sitting side by side, rehearsing the 4th Brandenburg Concerto, the slow movement, and that everything we have now we had behind us. We only remembered it like a nightmare. I woke up crying. I started to cry when we were playing. It was the slow movement, you know... Aren't you going to shave today? Well, if you insist. - Why are you so angry? - I'm not angry. You look angry. You're always angry these days. You better get dressed so we don't miss the ferry. We have to be at the mayor's house before 9:00. It isn't my fault. I didn't start this damn war. If there is any money left, we could buy a bottle of wine. What do you think, Eva? You're awful. Go and dress now. I think I'm getting a wisdom tooth. - Do you think the dentist is in town? - We'll find out. It's awful with wisdom teeth. Once I had one over here on the right side. The dentist had to take it out piece by piece. He went on for a whole day, without anesthesia. I had a fever for weeks afterward. I hope this one isn't that bad. That would be awful. Can you see anything? No, nothing. Touch here. It's swollen, like a lump. We better hurry up. Did you pay the telephone bill? Damn, I forgot. It's not right paying for something you don't have. The phone never works. Either they'll have to repair it... ...or I shouldn't have to pay. We need a phone, you know that. Of course. Naturally. But we don't get a lot of orders. We need a phone, or we'll lose the whole business. They can just as well call the Olssons. We can pay them every time someone calls. Do you hear the church bells? Is it some kind of a holiday today? No, it's an ordinary Friday, isn't it? - What do you suppose that means? - Nothing. Hurry up. We're already late. It frightens me when the bells ring on an ordinary weekday. - What time is it? - Five past 6:00. Yes? Hello? I think it's going to rain. Why don't you get your leather jacket? Damn it! Jan? What is it now? You can't be so sensitive. I can't stand it. Pull yourself together. I do. Can't you ever shut up? I'm sorry. I forgot my jacket anyway. There have been a lot of convoys lately. I didn't mean to be so nasty to you. - I just lost my temper. - I can defend myself. Listen... Yes, tomorrow is exactly four years since we moved to the island. Did you know that? The day before yesterday was a year since Grandfather died. We shouldn't forget to put flowers on his grave. No. Hi, Filip. Hi. What did you talk about? He was listening to the radio about an hour ago. Enemy troops might invade. They have been talking about that for years now. Our damned radio is always broken! Our damned car is always broken. If only you wouldn't try and repair it so often. There we go. It's better not to know anything. I'm so fed up with your escapism. No, I'm not going to argue with you. We're going to have fish for dinner. Sounds good! When you stood there talking to Filip, I felt really in love with you. You were so beautiful. From a distance, right? - Good morning! - How funny. We were just on our way to see you. It's so nice to see you. - We brought the lingonberries. - Really? Good morning. We have lingonberries for you. - Good morning. - Good morning, Mrs. Rosenberg. My wife and I just went out to look after our little summer house. I told the mayor we were on our way with your lingonberries. - Really? - They're very nice. - Really? - I don't know if we can bring them. - We're going to see our son. - We'll bring them there for you. - Sure it won't be any trouble for you? - Oh, no. - Of course not. - Will someone be there? Miss Almberg is home. Knock on the door. This was nice. Why don't you come over some evening? We'll eat, then make music, like in the old days. - That would be wonderful. - Great. I miss our musical gatherings. - We both do. - Yes, we do. We haven't played any music since conductor Kreisler was drafted. Can I ask you something? These military convoys... what do they mean? The situation has worsened a bit lately. They say so much on the radio, you don't know what to believe. And our radio is always broken. I believe in living in hope. You never know what will happen. I got a letter from my sister, who has been evacuated. She's in a refugee camp now, where they bomb almost every day. - That's awful. - We're almost there now. We have to say good-bye, but let's meet some evening, okay? - Yes, just call us. - Yes, we'll give you a call. - Good-bye. - Bye. We'll see you soon. - Our best regards to your son! - Thank you. We'll tell him! - Can we use the main entrance? - Of course. Okay, let's go in. I got ten kronors more than I asked for. Let's go to Fredrik's and buy some wine. Careful... come on. Hello? Hello? No, he's not home. He's never out. - Hi. - Hi. There you are. So you've been drafted, too? Yes, look how they've dressed me up. I haven't handled a gun in over 20 years. - Please have a seat. - Thank you. And I have nobody to look after the store. But maybe that doesn't matter. What can I do for you? We would like to buy a bottle of wine. I still have some left. I want to show you something. Look at this. It's the finest thing I have. It's an antique, right? 18th-century Meissen. How did you get it? I inherited it from my mother. I'll never sell it. Listen to it for a while, and I'll be right back. Do you listen to the radio? No, ours is broken all the time. I've tried to fix it, but I can't get it to work. Yesterday, they threatened the most horrible measures. And this morning they congratulated us on our heading for disaster. The same song we've heard for years. We shouldn't listen to them. Wait a minute. This is not what we meant. Just try this. It's really good. We were going to buy a bottle. This one is not bad. - Cheers. - Cheers. - This wine is so good. - It really is. What is it? Can I have a look. I have only five bottles left. Look... '59. - Can we afford this one? - Oh, yes. - Cheers. - Cheers. You know, when I am sitting here alone among my things, I feel so... sad. I don't know why. Maybe it's because no one will miss me if I disappear, not even Mrs. Prins. Mrs. Prins? The one who cleans the house once a week. She cleans up, and then she makes the coffee... ...and then we make love. No, Mrs. Prins will probably not miss me very much. Before you know it, you'll be home again. - How much is the wine? - You can have it for ten. You would have gotten it for free, but I need some money to give Mrs. Prins. Thank you very much! Very kind of you! She's going to look after my things while I'm gone. We don't want to miss the ferry. Yes, you see, I have some pain in my foot. It's really painful, actually. I wonder if they pay consideration to a foot. Maybe they can give me an administrative job... They didn't want me. - Maybe they'll send you back. - Let's not talk about you. The most important thing is to show goodwill and not come running with a doctor's certificate. Absolutely, you have to tell them. Maybe they'll let you go. See you again soon. Bye, and thank you very much. - See you soon. - I hope so. - Good-bye, then. - Thanks again. Bye. I think we should drink a toast for Filip and for his fish. - And my cooking. - And for your cooking. Eva, did you know the radio works? Did you repair it? - Yes, finally. - You are so smart. - Aren't I? - When you want to, you are. I'm always smart. - Do you know what I'm going to do? - No. - I'm smart, too, you know. - I know that. I'm going to start learning Italian. - Are you? Finally. - Tonight. - You've talked a lot about it. - Yes, and we can help each other. Every evening you've got to tell me to study my Italian. I will time you and quiz you, and I'll be very strict. You know what else we should do? Each morning, after we've fed the chickens, we should play music. You, up in the morning? I want to see that. I promise. We could play for half an hour every day. We have the instruments and we have lots of music. We have to keep practicing. Jan, I want to have babies. Sometimes I want to have a baby. Now? - No, not now. - Why? - I can't explain why. - Please explain it to me. It's a kind of feeling... I mean... - Can't you wait... - No. ...until it calms down? No, I think it's important now. Many of the things that might be bad between us depend on the fact that we have no children, that I as a woman don't have a child. I mean, I'm 30, and it's time I had a baby. 30 is not old. You can wait till you're 40. Women should have children when they're young. I will have 3 children when I'm 40. Then we'll be a family. Listen, I'm serious now. - Don't be angry. - I'm not going to be angry. Next time we go to the village, let's see the doctor. - What for? - To be examined. Since I don't have any children yet and... I mean, I am healthy. I know that. Yes, but I'm healthy, too. We are both healthy. - It's just psychological. - Jan, I'm serious. If we go to the doctor, he can examine you. Don't take it personally, but when we didn't live together, well... we both know what you were doing then. - I didn't do anything. - That could be important. It could be the reason we don't have children. Because you had a lot of women who... No, I didn't. Why talk about this now? It was nothing. I've always loved you. You know that. - What about the opera singer? - That meant nothing. It was nothing. It only happened once. I have always loved you, Eva, and I still love you. You know, I don't think you know what love is. Of course I know. Love of yourself. You know a lot about that. No. I'm not as selfish as you think. I think you're enormously selfish. I'm going to be a better person next year, even next week. - Are you? - I promise. I believe in a complete change of character, if you really want it. You? Yes. I'm not a determinist, you see. - What? - Determinist. What is a determinist? A determinist is a person... ...who... I don't care if you're a determinist or not, as long as you fix the sink tomorrow. Let's not wash the dishes now. We're not doing the dishes now? So what are we going to do now, then? - Where are you going? - To help him. He might be injured. - They might shoot you. - You're a damned coward! Stay here! You're not going to help when someone's hurt? Let me go! Go, then! I have to call an ambulance. Was it one or two who jumped from the plance? We just saw one, didn't we? Yes, one. - Did you shoot the pilot? - Why would I have done that? No, I guess it wasn't you. I advise you to get out of here. They have dropped paratroopers only a few kilometers from here. I know what we'll do. I'll put it in first gear, then you give it a little push. At least it's downhill. Where are you going? Hurry up! Hurry! Come on! You shot the pilot over there, didn't you? No, I didn't shoot him. It'll be worse if you lie. Now, what happened? He was dying when we got there. - It's true, isn't it? - Yes. Has there been an A.G. Patrol here before us? Yes, they were here about... half an hour ago. They warned us that you were a few kilometers from here. They came in two jeeps, about ten of them... 12, 14 men, maybe. They said we should get away from here as soon as possible. There, there. Calm down. Take it easy now. Take a deep breath. Don't be afraid. Is the microphone ready? The camera? Come on over here. We're going to tell the people... Don't resist so much! Why are you resisting? We are just going to tell people back home what kind of people we have liberated. Camera. The voices of liberation -78. Microphone. - Name? - Eva Rosenberg. Speak up. Speak louder! Don't be afraid! Eva Rosenberg. Tell us a little about yourself. I'm 28 years old. I play first violin in the Philharmonic Orchestra. Jan and I have been married for seven years now. We've lived here ever since the orchestra broke up. More! I don't know anything more. Your political opinion? I don't have any political opinion. Don't you have any? No, it's difficult to follow what is happening. We don't have a radio here. It doesn't work. Are you indifferent, then, about the political system you live in? No. We think that the war has gone on for such a long time, it's difficult to understand. - So you are not indifferent? - No. - So you've decided, then? - Yes. Fine! Excellent! Excellent! And now you! Your name? I don't feel very well. I have such a bad heart. He really is ill. Can my wife give me my medicine? Just a moment, please. Jan! Keep the camera on this. Take this! The faint! Come, come. Hurry up, Jan. Please hurry up. Let's get in the house. Jan, come help me. Jan, please do help a little. Come, let's get in. Come. Do you know what I was thinking out there? No. It's good that we don't have any children. When the war is over, we'll have children. We'll never have children. Jan, put your boots on right now and let's go. We have to leave. Come on! Jan, come on, hurry! Eva! - We'll take the road to the sea. - As long as you can drive. - Hurry up now! - But we don't have any food. When would I have cooked? The chickens, they are good to eat! - Who is going to kill them? - Not me. - I'm not going to do it! - We can shoot them. Who ever heard of shooting chickens? I won't chop their heads off... I'll bring one, and then you can shoot at it as much as you like. Are you going to shoot at me, too? There it is. - Shoot it! - I'm not shooting chickens. - Someone else will take care of them. - I'm so sick of you I could die. Eva! Eva, come! Jan, we have to go back home! Jan, drive home! Pull yourself together! It sounds like it's up... It sounds like it's up at the crossroads. This damned noise. I can't stand it! I can't stand it! I can't stand it anymore! - Let's go down to the basement. - You can go. We'll be protected. I'm not going to sit there locked up like a rat. Did I ever tell you who this Pampini really was? No. He was a contemporary of Beethoven. He was an instrument-maker in Vienna, educated in the Italian school. For a long time, he was in the Russian army, fighting against Napoleon. Then he lost a leg and took up violin-making again. This violin was made in 1814, the same year as the Vienna conference. Then he died in a cholera plague. I've forgotten the year. My hand is completely ruined. Why don't you try? Do you like me just a little? I do like you just a little. Do you love me, too? Do you? Yes, I love you. Ouch, ouch. What's wrong? I've got a cramp. There... It's better now. Jan... - Yes. - Come here. - Good morning! - Good morning! Move! Wait right there! - Hurry up! - I need to close the door. Filip Olsson. Please move. Make sure everybody gets in there! - Hurry up! - Okay. Move along there! Would you like to sit next to each other? - Hi, my name is Oswald. - Rosenberg. We have met before, at the charity concerts several years ago. I am the conductor... or I was. This looks bad. Sometimes everything seems just like a dream. It is not my dream but somebody else's that I have to participate in. What happens when the one who dreamt us wakes up and feels ashamed? Jan and Eva Rosenberg! Take it easy! We have reason to believe you have been collaborating with the other side. The most aggravating thing, of course, is Mrs. Rosenberg's TV interview, where you completely associate with the political opinions of our enemies. - That's not true. - It's not true? No. We have a newsreel of the interview. Would you like to see it? Turn off the light. <i>We've suffered under the oppression</i> <i>of deprived freedom for too long now.</i> <i>We have yearned for liberation</i> <i>as people thirst for water in the desert.</i> <i>I wish your troops victory.</i> But that's not my voice. I never said that. Tell the truth, or you and your husband will... That's enough. Leave her alone now. We haven't collaborated with anyone. How do you explain that the enemy paratroopers spared you when they liquidated all civil population within the area of four square kilometers? I don't know. I don't understand anything. Take Mrs. Rosenberg out. I want to talk to her husband alone. Jan, you come with me! No, let go of me! Hello again, Mrs. Rosenberg. Sit down here, Jan! What have they done to you? Let me see... Please... Please, doctor. Can you stand on your feet? Nothing is wrong with you. You have both arms and legs. You look awful. Stand up! No, we have to take him to the hospital. How is it going? How are you? They've pulled your shoulder out of joint. We'll put it back again. No, leave me alone! Leave me alone! Refrain from playing tennis for a few weeks now. And what about this one? Is he asleep? Take him out to the morgue. He can't stay here rotting. Have you had any food? - No. - Nothing, then? You have to excuse us. We recently moved in. The organization doesn't function well yet. I'll ask for food for you, then. And the lady? What is the matter with her? Nothing. All the better. Cigarette? Good afternoon. Bye! The one they took, was he dead? - I don't know. - But who was he? It was the editor in chief. There were rumors about a successful landing operation... but it proved to be wrong. The newspaper broke the story and welcomed the liberators. What happened to you, reverend? They treated me humanely. They let me go as soon as I started to scream. They seemed embarrassed and a little inexperienced. They didn't let me go. They just went on beating. They beat me on my head. Let me look. - Here. - I don't see anything. The white-haired one left saying, "That's for a lousy TV show." Jan, let me hold you. And how many in here, one? Oh, you're three? I'll be back with one more. - Can I help you? - No, I'm fine, thank you. Let me hold here. - It's just a little stiff. - I understand, but if I can help... No, I'll do it. Thank you! It looks awfully painful. Does it hurt? It aches slightly. It doesn't really hurt anymore. Formation in the courtyard! Detail halt! At ease. Stand at attention. Keep moving! Keep moving! This man has collaborated with our enemy, thereby causing us great losses. By command of the government, he's going to be pardoned. His death penalty will be changed to penal servitude for life. The rest of you will also get a milder sentence than you expected. Some of you will be released at once and transported back to your homes. That's right. These two to my office. May we sit down? Hell, no. If Jacobi saw you sitting down, he would kill me. What's going to happen now? Please come inside. Sit down, won't you? I heard about that notorious interview. It's false from beginning to end. We know that. But we had to make an example for the others. I couldn't avoid that. How do you feel? No major injuries, right? I ordered them not to hurt you. I hope they obeyed. - They almost did. - That is putting it mildly. I hope we'll see each other soon and have a nice talk together. Where the hell are the drivers? I assume you want to go back home as soon as possible. Yes. Starting Monday, there will be a different order here. I'll arrange a car for you so you won't have to take a truck. This is Jacobi. Send a car to my office right away, please. Peter! Drive them back to their home as soon as possible. Good-bye. Good-bye. To hell with this. You can go on if you want to. Now you are a martyr? Working like a slave, like a hypocrite. But, God, how you hate it. Funny, when there was war, we were at least relatively nice to each other. I'm going to listen to the news. Yeah, go sit by the radio. Then at least I don't have to see you. We got this radio from Jacobi so we can listen to the news. - He said it was important... - Go then! Don't stand here and talk bullshit! But you said yesterday when Jacobi was here that it's good for us to have him as a friend. - I never said that. - Yes, you did. But you were so drunk you probably forgot about it. I'll tell Jacobi to stop coming over. Filip says that we'll get in trouble if something happens. So Filip decides who is coming to our house? I've never heard such bullshit! If you weren't so ingratiating. - And what about you? - I'm not ingratiating. Yes, you are, just fawning over him. If you say I'm fawning over him, I'll hit you! Fawning! You are fawning! Fawning! If there will ever be peace, we will definitely split up. God, it'll be good to get rid of you and your stupid childishness. It's not only your life that is ruined. There are other people than you. Don't stand there grinning! You're not as goddamned important as you think you are! I'm sorry! You can say, "I'm sorry," but you don't mean it. The words just fall out of your mouth. Please, can't we be friends again? - Eva, what day is it today? - I don't know. It's Saturday. No, it was Saturday yesterday, right? It must be Sunday. Yes, it's Sunday. What time is it? I'll bet it's that damned Jacobi. I hope I'm not interrupting you. That's all right. I was just out for a little walk on my way home. I thought I would stop by. If you're not too busy, of course. No, we were listening to the radio. I don't want to walk in with muddy shoes. Do you think Jan can lend me a pair of slippers? You can put them by the stove. They are soaking wet. Where the hell are you? I brought you a present, Jan. Fine as hell and you shall have it. - It's Dvorak's trio in E flat major. - Really? It's the first edition. I inherited it from my uncle. - Here you go. - Thank you very much! - One day we might play it together. - It's fantastic! I have a present for you also, Eva. Here. I hope it's the right size. A family heirloom. But you shouldn't give us so many things. Talk to me. Say something. My little Eva, don't be sad. Who was it? An old friend who gives us fish sometimes. I have a feeling that... He's no one special. Just an old friend. He wanted to borrow some kerosene. You just gave us a whole barrel. Thank you, by the way. These men are filled with a tremendous idealism. And what about you? Eva doesn't like me tonight. If I asked her for a kiss, she would refuse because of you, Jan. You have nothing against Eva kissing me? Ask her yourself. Are you going to give me a kiss? You are so kind. You are putting us in a very difficult situation by coming here so often. I see. You don't want me here. That's clear. You misunderstand Eva. That's not what she meant. - She only meant... - What a pity. I like you. You're my friends in exile. I could have sent you to a concentration camp. - Jan, does that scare you? - Me? No. Are you an artist or an ass? I'm an ass, I suppose. Or am I an artist? The holy freedom of art. The holy slackness of art. I'll go and take a piss. My God, if only I could get sober. I drank too much. - We must try to get rid of him. - Yeah. Isn't it terrible with Filip? Do you know that the forest is full of people? Sometimes I wonder what they will do with me. I admit that the thought frightens me. They don't have any reason to torture me. I don't know any secrets. Maybe they just want to hurt me. Don't be scared. I'm just joking. This part of the island is pacified. Eva... touch me! Touch my head. Do you feel me? Touch my eyes. Here! Put your hand here! - Do you know me? - No... And you? - Do you know me? - Of course I know you. - I just don't understand... - That's strange... I have felt human empathy only a few times. - I don't understand. - Always together with pain. - Is it the same with you? - No, not with us. - Don't think so. - No. You can't talk about it. There is nothing to say, nowhere to hide. No excuses, no pretexts. Just a towering guilt, a great pain... ...a penetrating fear. - It's cold as hell. - I think you should go home now. I've felt the change of weather in my bad leg. Eva, come here. Come here. I'll give you something. Here is 23,000. It's my savings. - I want you to have them. - I don't want your money. Don't be silly. We can say you inherited it from me. Sweet Eva, can I talk to you? You know, the day before yesterday, I visited my son. He's on military leave right now. He has a little son, 19 months old. He was just going to bed. His father was feeding him formula from a big cup. He looked just like a safe little monkey... ...cuddled up close to his father's body. When he was full, he almost fell asleep. Listen. Can I tell you something else? My mother died a few years ago. She was old and had a bad heart. One Sunday morning, they called, telling me that she was very ill. So I went to see her. The doctor approached me as I entered the living room. I asked, "Can I see my mother?" And he said... "Your mother just passed away." I sat by her side. I sat for an hour, looking at her. She had a Band-Aid on her finger. Sometimes I thought she was breathing. Strange, the things we remember. Do you know why I took this job? No. I had a choice... ...and I was afraid of combat. Do you regret it? No. I have never been unfaithful to Jan before. Sometimes I'm frightened thinking about it. That is why I never think about it. No, not here. Come. He's asleep. I'll get your cane. Cry if you think it helps. And this money? Eva, there are people in the yard. Let's talk in the living room. Okay, okay! Come in here for a moment. We've done some talking here. Filip says that I can buy my freedom because the organization needs cash. And that is why I ask you, Eva, to lend me the money I gave you. Jan has it. I don't know of any money. You didn't take it? I don't know what money you're talking about. Tell your husband to get the money, if he has any. Jan, if you've hidden the money, you must give it to Filip now. It is not your money. I don't understand what you are talking about. I guess we'll have to look for it. What did you do with the money? I don't know what damn money you are talking about. Out of the way! So? - Where did you hide the money? - I didn't hide it. Where is it then? Why didn't you give him the money? They would have shot him anyway. That's not true. Stop it! Stop it! I said stop it! Don't shoot! We're unarmed. Calm down! Are you hungry? You can have some food from us. Wait there! Have you deserted? Did you hurt your hand? A dog bit me. Do you want me to look at it? Come and sit down. I'll clean it for you. Here is some food for you. Don't you want some? - Aren't you hungry? - No. - What's your name? - Johan. - Have you been hiding for a long time? - A few weeks. - Do you have any bandages? - In my pocket. I'll get it. Is it far to Hammars from here? - What are you going to do in Hammars? - None of your business. Are you tired? Do you want to sleep? No. Why did you run away? There were several of us who ran away together. I don't know where the others are. Here. Drink. I haven't slept for days. Tell us what you are going to do in Hammars. Leave him alone. Let him sleep. Leave him alone. Ah, no. No, no, let me be! Get up! Get up! Get up. Let me go. There. Get up! Let me go. Don't do it! Are you going to shoot me? What did you do with him? A fishing boat will leave from Hammars tomorrow. He found out from a friend who paid to come along. He got shot the same day. What did you do with the boy? The boots are good to have. Mine are completely worn out. What did you do with him? Tell me what you did with him! - I'm not coming with you. - It will be easier if you stay. Maybe we should bring some food. What is it going to be like if we can't talk to each other again? The boat is here now. Is there room enough for me and Eva? It will cost you. Is that enough? I had a dream. I was walking down a very beautiful street... ...and on one side there were white houses with high arches and pillars. On the other side, there was a shady park. Under the trees which were growing near the street, there was a stream of dark green water. And then I came to a high wall, and it was overgrown with roses. And then came an airplane and set the roses on fire. But it wasn't too awful since it was so beautiful. I watched the reflections in the water, and saw how the roses burned. And I had a little child in my arms. It was our daughter. She clung to me... ...and I felt her lips touching my cheek. And the whole time I knew that I should remember something... ...something someone had said... ...but I had forgotten what it was.


A husband and wife, Jan and Eva Rosenberg, are former violinists who are living on a farm on a rural island during a civil war. Their radio and telephone do not work, and Eva expresses frustration with Jan's apparent preference of escapism from the conflict, while they debate whether they can have children and if Jan is selfish. The couple visit the town, hear a rumor that troops will soon come, and meet with an older man who has been called to duty.

When they return, their home area is bombed, and they see a parachutist descend on it. Jan and Eva are captured by the invading force and interviewed by a military journalist on camera, for a segment on the viewpoints of the "liberated" population. Eva initially seems indifferent to the conflict, but denies neutrality; Jan declines to speak, and they are released. They are later captured again, and as soldiers interrogate them, the troops play a film of the interview, in which Eva's words have been dubbed over with incriminating speech. This is primarily a scare tactic.

Eventually, they are released by Col. Jacobi, who had formerly served as the mayor. After the couple returns home, their relationship is strained. Jacobi becomes a regular, if not uncomfortably constant, visitor who treats them with gifts but also has the power to send the couple to a work camp. This relationship is manipulative. Jacobi convinces Eva to provide him with sexual favors in exchange for his bank account savings. They go into the green house to have sex while Jan is resting. He wakes, calling Eva's name. Eventually, he goes upstairs and finds Jacobi's savings on the bed and begins to cry. Eva enters, while Jacobi stays outside and turns to leave. She then comments to a weeping Jan that he can continue sobbing if he feels it will help. Soldiers arrive, and Jacobi explains his freedom can be bought, as the side of the war who is here is in desperate need of money. Jacobi, the soldiers, and Eva ask Jan for the money. Jan states he does not know what money they are talking about. The soldiers raid the house to look for it, in vain. They hand Jan a gun to execute Jacobi, and he does. After the soldiers leave, Jan reveals he had the money in his pocket, to Eva's disgust. This has split their relationship irreparably and causes repeated breakdowns. The relationship grows silent and cold. When Jan and Eva meet a young soldier, Eva wants to feed him and allow him to sleep. Jan violently takes him away to shoot and rob him.

Eva follows Jan towards the sea, and he uses the money from Jacobi in order to buy them seats on a fishing boat. While at sea, the boat's motor fails. The man steering the boat kills himself by lowering himself overboard. The boat later finds itself stuck in the middle of floating dead bodies, unable to move forward and continue. As the boat takes away the refugees, Eva tells Jan of her dream: she walks down a beautiful city street with a shaded park, until planes come and set fire to the city and its rose vines. She and Jan have had a daughter, whom she is holding in her arms. They watch the roses burn, which she states "wasn't awful because it was so beautiful". She feels she had to remember something, but could not.



Author Jerry Vermilye wrote that in exploring "the thread of violence intruding on ordinary lives", Hour of the Wolf (1968), Shame, and The Passion of Anna represent a trilogy.[2] Author Amir Cohen-Shalev concurred that the films form a trilogy.[3] In particular, Shame depicts the "disintegration of humanity in war".[4] The violence, which author Tarja Laine believed represented a civil war in Sweden, is depicted as "apparently meaningless".[5] Marc Gervais writes that Shame, as a war film, does not address what either of the two sides of the war stand for and does not venture into propaganda or a statement against totalitarianism, instead focusing on "human disintegration, this time extending it to a broader social dimension in the life of one small community".[6] The film delves into the concept of shame, associating it with the "moral failure with the self" bringing about a "traumatic configuration" in character, with Von Sydow's character developing from coward to murderer.[5]

Journalist Camilla Lundberg observed a pattern in Bergman's films that the protagonists are often musicians, though in an interview Bergman claimed he was not aware of such a trend.[7] Author Per F. Broman believed Shame fits this trend in that the characters are violinists, but remarked that music did not seem very relevant to the plot.[7] Laine suggested memories of playing the violin represent an "if-only" theme, in which the characters imagine a better life they could have had.[8] Cohen-Shalev wrote that, like Persona and The Passion of Anna, Shame follows an "artist as fugitive" theme touching on issues of guilt and self-hatred.[3]

Critic Renata Adler believed that "The 'Shame' of the title is God's".[9] However, other authors believe the film differs from Bergman's earlier works, inasmuch as it is less concerned with God.[10][11][12]



Ingmar Bergman wrote the screenplay for Shame, completing it in spring 1967.[13] He explained the origin of the story:

For a long time before making this film I had carried around the notion of trying to focus on the 'little war', the war that exist on the periphery where there is total confusion, and nobody knows what is actually going on. If I had been more patient when writing the script, I would have depicted this 'little war' in a better way. I did not have that patience.[14]

The controversial Vietnam War was being fought at the time, and while Bergman denied the film was a statement on the conflict, he remarked that "Privately, my view of the war in Vietnam is clear. The war should have been over a long time ago and the Americans gone".[15] He also stated "As an artist, I am horror-stricken by what is happening in the world".[10] He envisioned Jan and Eva as Social Democrats, for that party subsidized culture.[15]


Shooting began in September 1967.[13] The film was shot on the island of Fårö, where the filmmakers had a house built to portray the Rosenberg residence.[16] The war scenes required trompe-l'œil effects, with Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist burning miniature churches and making small streams look like violent rivers.[17] Nykvist also employed a substantial number of shots with hand-held cameras and zoom lenses.[15] Another location was Visby on Gotland; filming wrapped on 23 November.[18]

After shooting completed, Fårö's environmental regulations required the Rosenberg house be burned, but Bergman had developed an attachment to its appearance and saved it by claiming there were plans to use it in another film.[16] He began writing The Passion of Anna, and with Von Sydow and Ullmann still contracted to work with him, envisioned The Passion of Anna as "virtually a sequel".[16]


The film had its debut at the International Cinema Incontri in Sorrento, Italy, which Bergman could not attend due to an ear infection.[10] It opened in Stockholm on 29 September 1968.[18]

In North America, Skammen was released under the title Shame.[19] It opened in New York City on 12 December 1968.[18] MGM released Shame on DVD both in the US and the UK as part of a box set including Hour of the Wolf, The Passion of Anna, The Serpent's Egg and Persona, though the UK box set omits Persona.[20] The Criterion Collection announced a Blu-ray release in Region A for 20 November 2018, along with 38 other Bergman films, in the set Ingmar Bergman's Cinema.[21]


Critical reception

Liv Ullmann's performance was praised by Pauline Kael and she received the Guldbagge Award for Best Actress.

In Sweden, Mauritz Edström wrote in Dagens Nyheter that the film signified Bergman dealing less with his own inner conflict to something more contemporary and more important than one person.[14] Torsten Bergmark, also in Dagens Nyheter, wrote Bergman had found a new message, one of how a person without religion, Jan in this case, is left with self-loathing, while Eva is Bergman's "new solidarity".[22]

In the United States, Pauline Kael reviewed the film in The New Yorker in December 1968. She was an admirer of the film, writing "Shame is a masterpiece, ... a vision of the effect of war on two people". She praised Liv Ullmann as "superb in the demanding central role" and Gunnar Björnstrand as "beautifully restrained as an aging man clinging to the wreckage of his life".[23] Renata Adler, writing for The New York Times, called it "Dry, beautifully photographed, almost arid in its inspiration".[9] Judith Crist of New York called it "Bergman's definitive apocalyptic vision, painful and powerful". However, Crist added the kind of people who could learn from it did not usually watch Bergman films.[24] In 1996, Shame was included in Movieline magazine's "100 Greatest Foreign Films".[25]

In 2008, Roger Ebert gave Shame four stars, noting its timing during the Vietnam War and calling it "angry and bleak film that was against all war" and "a portrait of a couple torn from their secure lives and forced into a horrifying new world of despair". However, he remarked the film was less remembered than other Bergman films at the time of his writing.[26] In 2015, Drew Hunt of the Chicago Reader placed it in Bergman's top five films, judging it "A war film that's not actually about war".[27] The film has a 65% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 17 reviews with an average rating of 6.9/10.[28]


The film was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 41st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[29] Liv Ullmann won the award for Best Actress at the 6th Guldbagge Awards.[30]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Globes 24 February 1969 Best Foreign Language Film Shame Nominated [31]
Guldbagge Awards 13 October 1969 Best Actress Liv Ullmann Won [30]
National Board of Review 10 January 1969 Best Actress Won [32]
1 January 1970 Best Foreign Language Film Shame Won [33]
Top Foreign Films Won
National Society of Film Critics January 1969 Best Film Won [34]
Best Director Ingmar Bergman Won
Best Screenplay Runner-up
Best Actress Liv Ullmann Won
Best Cinematography Sven Nykvist Runner-up

See also


  1. ^ Balio 1987, p. 231.
  2. ^ Vermilye 2002, p. 133.
  3. ^ a b Cohen-Shalev 2002, p. 138.
  4. ^ Laine 2008, p. 60.
  5. ^ a b Laine 2008, p. 61.
  6. ^ Gervais 1999, p. 108.
  7. ^ a b Broman 2008, p. 17.
  8. ^ Laine 2008, p. 63.
  9. ^ a b Adler, Renata (24 December 1968). "Shame". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Vermilye 2002, p. 128.
  11. ^ Bergom-Larsson 1978, p. 101.
  12. ^ Winter et al. 2007, p. 42.
  13. ^ a b Marker & Marker 1992, p. 300.
  14. ^ a b "Shame". Ingmar Bergman Foundation. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Ford, Hamish (March 2014). "Shame". Senses of Cinema (70). Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Gado 1986, p. 377.
  17. ^ Macnab 2009, p. 1.
  18. ^ a b c Steene 2005, p. 283.
  19. ^ Vermilye 2002, p. 130.
  20. ^ "Hour of the Wolf (1968)". AllMovie. RhythmOne. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  21. ^ Chitwood, Adam (12 July 2018). "Criterion Announces Massive 39-Film Ingmar Bergman Blu-ray Collection". Collider. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  22. ^ Steene 2005, p. 285.
  23. ^ Kael 2011.
  24. ^ Crist, Judith (13 January 1969). "Bergman's Basic Truth". New York. Vol. 2, no. 2. New York Media. p. 54. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  25. ^ "100 Greatest Foreign Films by Movieline Magazine". Retrieved 19 April 2009.
  26. ^ Ebert, Roger (4 August 2008). "Shame". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  27. ^ Hunt, Drew (19 July 2015). "Ingmar Bergman's five best films". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Skammen (Shame) (1968)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  29. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  30. ^ a b "Shame (1968)". Swedish Film Database. Swedish Film Institute. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  31. ^ "Skammen". Golden Globe Awards. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  32. ^ "1968 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  33. ^ "1969 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  34. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. 19 December 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2016.


External links

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