Scenes From a Marriage (2021): Hagai Levi Film Gets Rave Reviews at 78th Venice Film Festival
Written by: Staff
Hagai Levi’s remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage premiered at the 78th Venice Film Festival and we were lucky enough to experience the entire 5 part miniseries before it had its debut on HBO this month.
Right off the bat, Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac have an electric chemistry that is some of the best of their entire careers. Not only does the duo make us believe in the authenticity of their relationship but this nuanced portrayal becomes even more heartbreaking when things start to go sour between the two. Levi captures the distant emotions of the two in a variety of ingenious visual cues. One of these cues that work really well is incessant focus on Chastain’s drifting facial expressions as another character takes the lead in dialogue. In addition, the extreme closeups, which were a staple of the original, are present in this version as well, capturing the raw emotion and trauma of the characters as the relationship begins to falter and implode gradually.
Levi illustrates the emotional friction between the couple flawlessly, genuinely sinking our hearts even further as the narrative progresses. The performances are undoubtedly powerhouse, the screenplay is sharp and the cinematography is drenched in yellow, like a David Fincher film. This perfectly complements the theme of conflict and friction and portrays the nature of the story really well; the love between the characters has ended and now their relationship is merely running on fumes. This transformation of pure, unadulterated love to hate is depicted authentically and the premise is completely sold by Isaac’s grounded and Chastain’s somewhat neurotic performance.
While the miniseries may have been unable to free itself from the shadow of Ingmar Berman’s 1973 original, Levi does try to break new ground without changing the landscape completely. A couple of important plot points have been changed and the dimensions of the relationship feels a bit more fleshed out this time around. The leads are also more expressive and this tiny detail adds loads of nuance to the story, elevating it considerably.
With electrifying chemistry between the leads Isaac and Chastain, Scenes from a Marriage (2021) is a deeply personal yet tragic look at how two people, who are supposed to flourish together, move apart when their love wanes. Levi manages to recreate an honest homage to the original whilst changing just enough details for the series to stand on its own two feet. It is understandable that since Bergman’s original is considered a classic, some might not be impressed with the remake while others may consider some aspects of it to be superior to its predecessor. Whatever the case maybe, it is clear from the thundering applause that the production received at Venice, that Levi’s sombre tale of love and regret has triumphed.
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the most prestigious. The Festival was organised for the first time in 1932, under the auspices of the President of the Biennale, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the sculptor Antonio Maraini, and Luciano De Feo and obtained a great popularity, so as to become an annual event from 1935 onwards. The Venice Film Festival is today a prestigious event that presents every year a selection of world-class films, bringing some of the most successful directors and actors of our time on the red carpet at Lido di Venezia, continuing the tradition that adds the glamour charm that always marked the Festival to a high artistic value program.
For more information on the festival, visit: www.labiennale.org
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