Scenes from a Marriage (1974) Script

SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE A FILM BY INGMAR BERGMAN This room will be ideal for pictures. Sit here on the sofa.

Everybody look at the camera.

Nice, isn't it? Let's see some happy faces.

INNOCENCE AND PANIC Smile. You too, Mom.

Watch the hair!

That's the shot.

Are we done? I think so.

The girls can go, at any rate.

Good job, girls. Go have your sandwiches.

Good as gold. Bye-bye.

How about some shots of the husband and wife on the sofa?

Sure. Move forward.

Don't slouch down.

I'll make myself look smaller. Make it a close-up.

Talk to each other.

Marianne, turn your gaze a bit. Look as if you're fond of each other.

Now smile at each other.

Hold it. That's great.

I got my shot, thank you.

Take a few portraits too.

Well, let's get cracking. I generally use a standard opener to put people at ease.

I'm not particularly nervous. All the better.

So, how would you describe yourselves in a few words?

That's tricky. Is it?

I might give the wrong impression. You think so?

It sounds cocky if I say I'm bright, youthful, successful and sexy.

My mind has a global scope, I'm educated, and a I'm a great mixer.

What else?

I'm a good friend, even to those less fortunate than myself.

I'm sporty, and I'm a good father and a good son.

I don't have any debts, and I pay my taxes.

I respect our government, no matter what.

I love our royal family. I don't belong to the state church.

Is that good, or do you want more details?

I'm a fantastic lover. Isn't that right, Marianne?

Maybe we should skip that question. Your turn, Marianne.

What can I say?

I'm married to Johan and we have two daughters.

I can't think of anything else. Sure you can.

I think Johan is very nice. How kind of you.

We've been married for ten years. Yes, I just renewed the contract.

I lack Johan's boundless self-assurance, but in all honesty, I'm happy I lead the life I do.

It's a good life, if you know what I mean.

What else should I say? This is difficult.

She has a great figure. I'm trying to take this seriously.

I have two girls, Karin and Eva. You said that already.

Let's move on to the particulars. How old are you?

I'm 42, but it doesn't show. I'm 35.

We come from ridiculously bourgeois backgrounds.

Johan's father is a physician.

My mother is very much the mother.

My father is a lawyer.

It was decided early on that I would become one too.

I'm the youngest of seven children.

My mother ran a large household.

Nowadays she takes things easier. Oh, really?

Oddly enough, we enjoy the company of our parents.

We see each other often, and we rarely clash.

Maybe we should talk about your professions.

I'm an associate professor at the Psychotechnology Institute.

My field is family law.

I belong to a large law firm and deal mostly with divorce.

The interesting thing about my job is — Don't move! Hold that pose.

Take a picture and get that look.

Good. Great.

Oh, that makes me feel — You'll get used to it.

How did you meet?

I'll leave that to Johan.

Now, that's an interesting tale.

It wasn't love at first sight.

Both of us socialized quite a lot, and we often ran into each other.

For many years we were heavily involved in political causes and belonged to a drama group at school.

We weren't particularly interested in each other.

I guess Marianne thought I was conceited.

At the time, Johan was in a highly publicized romance with a pop singer.

It gave him a certain image, and he was cocky.

At 19, Marianne was married to a boy whose only virtue was a rich father.

He was very kind, and I was crazy about him.

I also got pregnant.

But how did you — Get together?

Basically, it was Marianne's idea.

My baby died soon after it was born, and my husband and I split up.

Johan's singer had given him his walking papers.

Both of us were shaken, so I suggested we start seeing each other.

We weren't in love, but both of us were unhappy.

We realized that we got along famously, and our grades improved.

So we decided to live together.

We expected our mothers to be shocked, but they weren't.

They became fast friends.

We were accepted as a couple and got married six months later.

By that time we were in love. Madly in love.

People saw us as the perfect couple. And it's been that way ever since.

Without any hitches?

Our material needs are met.

We get on well with all our friends and relations.

We have good jobs that we enjoy. We're in good health.

And so on and so forth, to an almost embarrassing degree.

Security, order, contentment, loyalty.

We're indecently fortunate.

We do have our disagreements, but basically we get along well.

Don't you ever quarrel? Marianne quarrels.

Johan is so slow to anger that it takes the wind out of my sails.

That all sounds fabulous.

I heard someone say just last night that the very lack of problems could cause strife.

We're well aware of the hazards of a life like ours.

Hazards? How do you mean?

The world is going to the dogs, and I prefer to live and let live.

I'm entitled to simply look out for number one.

It makes me sick to hear about the latest panacea.

I don't feel the same way as Johan. How do you feel?

I believe... in compassion.

Could you please expand on that?

If we all learned to care about our fellow man from childhood, the world would be different.

Hold that pose. Look into the camera.

Listen to this:

"Marianne's eyes are as blue as a folk song and are lit up from within.

When I ask her how she copes with it all, she smiles in shy delight and replies that she and Johan both pitch in."

Which happens to be true.

"'We understand each other,' she replies, brightening as Johan sits down next to her on the heirloom sofa.

Protectively, he puts his arm around her, eliciting a smile."

Hey! Here comes the best bit.

"As I take my leave, I notice how they secretly appreciate that fact so they can bask in each other's presence once more.

Two souls who have matured together sharing a positive outlook, yet never forgetting to put love in the forefront."

We were mortified when we read it.

I considered taking action, but our mothers adored the piece.

One thing gets me: My eyes didn't get a mention.

Don't they shine with a secret light?

They're more like dark pools. The effect is quite sexy.

Katarina has a crush on you.

How about running off with me? A change would do Johan good.

He's lived a married life for ten years, and he's never strayed.

Are you sure?

Certainly. From the get-go I decided to believe everything Johan tells me.

Did you hear that, Katarina?

Well, I bet Johan is a better liar than you, my silly little darling.

I'm afraid I have a limited imagination.

That's just it.

Less imagination makes for better liars.

Peter embroiders his tales too much.

It's almost touching.

I read your piece in Technical Times. Even I could understand it.

Actually, Katarina wrote it. Are you really that clever?

I was in Germany, and they wanted an article on the spot.

So Katarina whipped one up and read it to me over the phone.

Why does it have your byline?

It's not discrimination or anything.

We generally collaborate.

That's admirable.

Not if you consider how badly we get along.

Frankly, things are hell.

Cheers, honey!

Cheers.

But surely I can tell Johan and Marianne how things are?

What's wrong, Katarina? Nothing.

Peter can be such a clod. That's all.

I'm a clod, all right.

I'm proud to be a clod and to have an imagination.

The odd thing is that Katarina thinks I'm a spineless jellyfish.

Oh, my!

Let's try to have a pleasant time and not get into life's injustices.

That's why we shouldn't forget — It's time for a little speech, with reference to that blessed article on the two of you.

Let's not forget that we are in the presence of a happy home that shouldn't be soiled with our emotional crap.

Cheers, Marianne. The meal was lovely.

I may not envy your domestic bliss, but I do admire your culinary talents.

I mean it.

I really wish Katarina could pick up a few pointers.

Katarina's a much better cook.

Peter thinks I poison his food.

It's a running joke at our house.

It was clear it was a joke, right?

One that's hard to digest.

Let's have some coffee in the living room.

What should I do now?

I seem to have put my foot in my mouth again.

The girls will clear the table.

It's pretty damn touching.

What is?

Your marriage.

Johan and Marianne.

It's so touching, it brings tears to your eyes.

It makes one itch to puncture that beautiful balloon of yours.

You would do that?

Cheers.

You've been married for ten years.

We just celebrated our tenth anniversary.

No skeletons in the closet? You never know.

No, you never know.

Both Johan and I enjoy cleaning up.

Well, what do you know!

That's where we've been remiss: the cleaning.

But that's going to change.

Next week I'll call Marianne and have her arrange for our divorce.

Unfortunately, Peter will back down again before he sobers up.

The adding machine will start running, you see.

It will say, "I'll go through with a divorce if Katarina relinquishes any claim on our Swiss assets."

To which I counter, "It's my money. I earned it."

Then Peter will say, "I made it grow.

You can have the factory."

And I say, "Great.

A factory in Italy with steadily rising labor costs."

Katarina, please —

"Take everything in Sweden.

The apartment, the summer cottage, the boat, the stocks and bonds."

And then I say, "Damned nice of you to leave me with the taxable assets."

Excuse me for putting a damper on the evening with such trivial matters.

But when Peter talks about splitting up, then I know how drunk he is... and that insults are soon to follow.

It's like I always say:

Katarina is a businessman.

With equal emphasis on both parts of the word.

Business... man.

She's also a brilliant artist.

And she has an IQ of I don't know what.

And she's attractive too.

A real gem in a stunning package.

How such a paragon could ever spread her legs for me is a mystery.

I think it's time to call a cab and go home.

It can't be pleasant for Johan and Marianne to witness a scene like this.

Johan and Marianne!

They're candy figurines wrapped in red ribbons, like the gift-wrapped marzipan pigs of our childhood.

It'll do their souls good to catch a glimpse of the depths of hell.

August Strindberg once said, "Could there be anything more terrifying than a husband and wife who hate each other?"

What do you say? Child abuse could possibly be worse.

But then again, Katarina and I are children.

Deep down, Katarina is a little girl who cries because no one comforts her when she falls.

And in the opposite corner, I'm a little boy who cries because Katarina can't love me.

Even though I'm bad and mean to her.

Well, on the bright side, there can't possibly be anything worse than this.

That's why I think we're ready for a divorce.

Only if you're sensible.

Only if the two of us simultaneously, and in the presence of witnesses, sign all the papers.

So neither of us can cheat the other.

We'll call you sometime this week.

We have a fine business lawyer.

Mr. Borglund can help you with the business end.

What do you say, Katarina?

Even if our finances are resolved, you'll never let me go.

I know that.

So you think you're so bloody irreplaceable, my dear Katarina?

Just when did this occur to you? That would be interesting to know.

Couldn't you tell me? Tell us?

You force me to have sex with you, since you can't get it up with anyone else.

You have an insatiable need for guilt.

Now that it's over between you and Jan, you feel desperate.

Now Peter's the only one who cares and has the proper patience.

So you think you're the only one?

Isn't that touching?

You think I don't have anyone else. Let me tell you something, Peter.

Forgive me for being so frank, but Peter's challenging the truth, and he needs to be enlightened.

I want you to know this:

I find you utterly repulsive.

In a physical sense, I mean.

I could buy a lay from anyone just to wash you out of my genitals.

"Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide."

You son of a bitch!

"When other helpers fail and comforts flee, help of the helpless, oh, abide with me."

Whatever that's supposed to mean.


I hope that won't stain the carpet.

I'm not sure about liqueurs.

Send me the bill. No.

Do it!

Could you please pour me a cup of coffee? I'm — I'm pretty drunk.

Please forgive us.

We don't usually behave like this.

But you're our best friends.

Our only friends.

Forgive me.

Forgive us.

Call me a cab.

I'll take my bacchante home, and we'll finish our little scene.

The finale is generally inappropriate for an audience.

What time is it? Ten past 12:00.

I'm glad we got rid of them. Yes, things got a bit too festive.

Do you believe two people can spend a lifetime together?

It's a ridiculous convention passed down from God knows where.

A five-year contract would be ideal. Or an agreement subject to renewal.

Would that apply to us too? No.

Why not? We're the exception that proves the rule.

So you think we'll stay together?

Now, that's a strange question.

Doesn't it bother you to never get to sleep with anyone else?

No. Does it bother you? Sometimes.

I'll be damned.

On a purely theoretical plane.

I wonder if something's wrong with me.

I don't have fantasies like that. I'm content.

Well, so am I.

Oh, now I get it.

I know why Katarina and Peter go through hell.

They don't speak the same language.

They have to translate everything into a common language.

I think it's simpler than that.

You and I understand each other.

We speak the same language. That's what makes us click.

I think it's the money.

If you speak the same language and trust each other, money is not a problem.

You and your languages.

I see it at work all the time.

Sometimes it's like husband and wife are talking on telephones that are out of order.

Sometimes it's like listening to pre-programmed tape recorders.

Sometimes all you get is the vast silence of outer space.

I don't know which is worst.

I have my doubts.

What if we were factory workers and had to have the kids in day care?

It doesn't matter.

I don't agree.

If you speak the same language, your environment isn't a factor.

That's a romantic point of view.

Would a life like that affect us?

Are you serious?

Yes, I'm serious.

We wouldn't get along as well?

I really mean it. Regardless of language.

Isn't there just as much potential for alienation and loneliness now?

Absolutely not.

A dull, strenuous job would wear people down to a greater degree.

You're dumber than I thought.

And you're the romantic, by the way. We'll see.

And exactly what will we see? I don't know. Do you?

You're teasing me. Yes, I am.

Aren't you hungry? Yes, I'm ravenous.

How about a sandwich and a beer?

Sounds great.

THE ART OF SWEEPING THINGS UNDER THE RUG


Good morning.

Good morning.

Did you sleep well? Like a log. How about you?

Fine.

Only I woke up at 5:00 and couldn't go back to sleep.

Why is that?

I was irritated.

Should I feel guilty?

For once you're innocent, my dear.

The thought of Sunday dinner with the folks had me steaming.

We always have Sunday dinner at your parents' place or mine.

And that's insane. We do it to please them.

Well, I'm going to cancel.

You're going to cancel? What will your mother say?

She can say whatever she likes.

I want to spend the day with you and the kids.

Well, if you can pull it off — I certainly can.

The more I think about it, the madder I get.

Is your period coming up? Why do you always say that?

Well, isn't it?

All right, my period's due on Monday, but that's not why I'm annoyed.

What's bothering you?

Just think about it.

Every last second of our time is accounted for and booked solid.

We have our vacations.

Don't you understand?

Our vacations are even more tightly scheduled.

Aren't you going to wake the girls?

They're sleeping in today.

Karin has the day off, and Eva has a sore throat.

I want her to be well by Sunday, to avoid all the snide remarks.

Weren't you going to cancel dinner?

I want you to do it.

I don't want to lock horns with your mother.

Well, aren't you going to call your mother?

Didn't we agree you would do it?

No, honey.

I'll hold your hand and provide moral support.

All right, I'll do it.

My heart is racing.

The first baby steps in the great revolt.

Aren't they in? What a relief.

Miss Alm, is my mother in?

May I speak to her?

How is your knee, Miss Alm?

Oh, it isn't any better, then?

It's worse? Now, that's too bad.

What does the doctor say?

He's not very understanding. I see.

Hello, Mother.

How are you? Good.

Dad's already gone?

That's right. He was going out to the country.

You let him go off on his own like that?

Oh, Erik went with him. That's nice.

Listen, I have something to tell you.

That's right. How did you guess?

Why? I'd like to spend Sunday with Johan and the girls.

No, we're not going anywhere.

We just don't feel like coming over for dinner, that's all.

I don't believe for one second that Dad's been looking forward to it.

Really, Mother, it should be a pleasure and not a duty.

I see.

I see.

You hadn't told me that.

To be honest, not entirely thrilled.

No, forget it, Mother.

We'll show up, like we said we would.

That'll be just fine. Excellent.

Yes, we're looking forward to it.

Bye-bye, Mother dear.

Bye.

The revolution was smothered at birth.

Aunt Elsa is coming to town. She hasn't visited in six months.

She was looking forward to seeing us, and she has a gift for you.

And Mrs. Danielsson was coming over to cook.

And your dad was so looking forward to seeing us.

I still think you were brave to try. We'll cancel another time.

Don't be upset.

Will you be home for dinner?

I'll meet you at the theater at 7:20.

Don't you like coming home anymore?

Things are certainly complicated today, aren't they?

I wish we could spend a whole week in bed just cuddling.

And both of us could cry.

That's not the life we chose to lead.

I wish I could be certain our mothers didn't do the choosing.

You suffer from a maternal persecution complex.

Is this the life you wanted?

Yes.

What if we started cheating on each other?

Marianne, please.

What would you do?

Kill you, of course.

Sometimes I wish — What?

Nothing.

Wait a second. I'll go with you.

Wouldn't it be better if you took your own car?

No, this way we can drive home from the theater together.

What about the girls? Mrs. Andersson is coming today.

I'll call her from town and ask if she can cook something.

She makes great pancakes. I'll go wake the girls.

I'm in a hurry. It'll only take a minute.


Oh, by the way, please pay your parking tickets.

There's a whole stack of them.

Yes, sir.

See you at the theater.

Yes, it's me.

Oh, hi, Mother. The line's so bad, I didn't recognize your voice.

I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

You're concerned? Now, why is that?

Marianne's mother called... and she's concerned too?

Good grief.

No, Marianne and I are getting along fine.

We're healthy, cheerful and insanely happy.

Nothing's wrong, I swear. Don't worry.

Your intuition? Well, it's led you astray.

Marianne and I are happy together.

Tell Marianne's mother she should do something more constructive than gossip about worst-case scenarios.

I'm pretty busy right now, Mother.

I'll see you soon.

We'll stop by on Friday, just like we promised.

Give my best to Dad.

Damn.

Hi. Am I disturbing you?

Please do.

I just had to see what you're up to.

There are so many rumors floating around.

What are you doing?

This does look mysterious.

Shouldn't you be in Lund? Yes.

But the students are demonstrating for some deserving cause or another, and the lectures were canceled.

Lucky you.

What's this going to be? Take a look.

What am I supposed to do? Hold this pen.

When I turn off the lights, you'll see a bright dot on the wall.

Try to touch it with the tip of the pen.

If you miss, draw a line to it.

We'll get it all on camera.

But it's dark. We're using infrared lighting.

I'll watch you on the monitor.

Lights out.

Be my guest.

Go ahead.


Are you pulling my leg?

Not at all. Go on.

Could you — It keeps moving.

It's not a trick. Actually, the dot is stationary.

I've had enough of this! Turn the lights back on.

My, you're upset.

That was unpleasant.

Yes, it makes you nervous.

Funny, isn't it?

Look how you drifted, getting more and more irritated by the minute.

So what does it prove?

That remains to be seen. This is only the beginning.

I'd like a cigarette. Go ahead. Have a seat.

No!

I gave up smoking six days ago, and it's a pain!

Having withdrawal symptoms?

Stefan's away and my friends are avoiding me.

I'll go back to it, but I'll try to stick to my guns a while.

Go on, take a cigarette.

Bromeus left a pack behind when he spied on me yesterday.

Oh, that's heaven.

What a relief.

Well?

Right.

I spent the entire afternoon yesterday reading your poems.

Very carefully, from start to finish. Twice.

They baffled me. Were they so very strange?

That's not it.

They weren't strange?

Well, I might be wrong.

Has Marianne read them?

No, you're the only one I've shown them to.

Marianne's not interested in poetry.

She ought to be interested in you. She is, but not in that respect.

She's not?

Really? What's so odd about that?

You and I have been friends since we were students.

We've never been sexually involved.

You can provide an objective opinion before I try the publishers.

I wouldn't bother.

Are they that bad?

No, it's not that they're bad.

If only that were the case.

They're mediocre, is that it?

They're insipid, proper and puerile?

They're too personal, like indulging in spiritual masturbation?

In our old crowd, many believed you were destined for greatness.

We admired you.

You were way ahead of us.

We admired and even envied you.

What's that got to do with my poetry?

Nothing. It was just a thought.

I guess the withdrawal symptoms colored your view.

You appear stressed.

That's possible.

I'm going to show them to others before I scrap them.

Of course you should.

The publishing houses will have to tell me how bad they are.

I've offended you.

You sure did.

I'm sorry.

At least there's one person who appreciates them.

Who would that be? Are you curious?

My dear little Johan.

Pay no attention to me.

It was just my craving talking. Right.

Well, I've got to go.

I'll leave your poems at the door.

Give my love to Marianne.

You know I'll always be there for you.

That's nice of you.

Bye.

I'll see you around 12:30 then.

Bye.

I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.

In this first meeting we usually establish the issues and look at how to solve them.

I want a divorce.

How long have you been married? Over 20 years.

Do you have a profession?

No, I'm a housewife.

Why do you want a divorce?

There's no love in our marriage.

Is that the reason?

Yes.

You've been married for a long time. Was this always the case?

Yes, always.

And now that your children have left the nest, you want to leave as well.

My husband is a responsible man. He's kind and conscientious.

I have nothing to complain about.

He's been an excellent father. We've never quarreled.

We have a nice apartment and a lovely summer cottage we inherited from my mother-in-law.

We're both fond of music.

We belong to a chamber music society and play together.

It all sounds ideal.

Yes, it does.

But there is no love between us. There never has been any.

Forgive me for asking, but have you met someone?

No, I haven't.

What about your husband?

As far as I know, he's never been unfaithful.

Won't you be lonely?

I guess.

But it's even lonelier living in a loveless marriage.

Have you told your husband you want a divorce?

Of course.

Fifteen years ago I told him I didn't want to live with him anymore, since there was no love in our marriage.

He was very understanding.

He merely asked me to wait until the children had grown up.

Now all three have grown up and left home.

Now I can have my divorce.

So what does he say?

He keeps asking me what's wrong with our marriage.

And I tell him I can't go on with a relationship that lacks love.

Then he asks me what love is supposed to involve.

But I tell him I don't know.

How can I describe something that's not there?

Have you been on good terms with your children?

Emotionally.

I've never loved my children.

I know that now.

I used to think I did. You always do.

But I know now that I never loved them.

Still, I've been a good mother.

I've done all I could, even though I never felt anything for them.

I know just what you're thinking.

Really?

"A spoiled woman with no sense of humor.

She has everything she could possibly want, but still she goes on about love.

What about friendship, loyalty, security?"

Something like that, yes.

Let me tell you something.

I have a mental picture of myself that doesn't correspond to reality.

Pardon me... if I ask you a personal question.

Isn't it true that love —

What were you going to ask?

I'm not sure. Forgive me.

I tell myself I have the capacity to love.

But it's been...

bottled up.

The life I've led has stifled my potential.

The time has come to change all that.

The first step is divorce.

My husband and I...

cancel each other out.

That sounds frightening.

It is frightening.

Something peculiar is happening.

My senses — sight, hearing, touch — are starting to fail me.

This table, for instance.

I can see it and touch it.

But the sensation is deadened and dry.

Do you understand?

I think I do.

It's the same with everything — music, scents, faces, voices.

Everything seems puny, gray, and undignified.

Now for some food and drink.

And to get out of these clothes.

Getting through Ibsen on nothing but a hot dog was an ordeal.

Remember when our parents almost threw us out because we joined the May Day parade?

You were more zealous about politics.

And you accused me of neglecting our home.

That was the year we came down with the Asian flu.

We thought the future was bright.

It's nice to have faith in things.

And we had the pleasure of annoying our parents at the same time.

You were such a hothead back then.

Not as bad as your dad.

No, you were worse. Pretty and hotheaded.

You were awfully attractive as a socialist.

Aren't I now? What?

Awfully attractive? Of course.

But married couples aren't as hot for each other after a while.

That's not true in our case though.

We're just too busy.

When evening rolls around, we're exhausted.

That wasn't meant as a reproach. I swear.

We like each other in every way.

Not in that way.

Not very much, anyway.

Oh, yes, we do.

Our life is full of little evasions and restrictions.

I can't help the fact I don't enjoy it as much as I used to.

There's a perfectly natural explanation.

Don't lay this guilt on me.

Don't get so upset.

I think we have it nice.

Things are not as passionate as they once were, but we could be worse off.

Without a doubt.

Sex isn't everything, after all.

If you're not satisfied, go find yourself a mistress who's more imaginative and exciting.

I do my best, I assure you.

There we have it.

You've got that look again. I haven't got any look.

That look and that tone of voice. Instead of brooding, just spit it out.

You'll just lose your temper.

No, I'm listening — with an open mind.

Sometimes I wonder why we complicate this problem so awfully.

Making love is pretty basic.

It shouldn't be a huge, overshadowing issue.

It's your mother's fault, if you ask me, though you don't like my saying so.

What a superficial analysis. Don't be a sourpuss. I'm being nice.

You think it's my fault we don't enjoy it anymore.

You just said you do your best. I really do.

Can't you hear how preposterous that sounds?

Are you calling me a liar?

No, for Christ's sake.

Then I don't understand.

Let's drop this and go to bed. It's late.

It's just like you to start a discussion to get me all riled up, only to yawn and say it's bedtime.

You suffer from devastatingly high standards.

We've often joked and argued about it.

But can't our poor sex life be spared your ambitions?

Why won't you cut me some slack?

First you attack me for not trying and then for making the effort.

What a mess I've made.

Yes, you sure have.

It would be more helpful if you were kind.

There, there, sweetheart. I shouldn't have brought it up.

It's possible to talk too much about these things, you know.

Yes, it is.

I know you should discuss everything and not keep secrets.

But in this case I think it's wrong.

I think you're right.

Some matters should be protected from prying eyes.

You think so?

I'm sure of it.

We hurt each other for no reason, and the barbs are still there when we go to bed.

It's like lying on a bed of nails.

What are you laughing at? The bed of nails bit.

Go on and laugh then. Let's go to bed.

Only if you admit that you've been tactless.

I apologize.

Don't I give you enough affection?

Affection takes time.

Then you don't get enough.

We don't get enough. Or give enough.

That's why I wanted us to go away this summer.

Affection shouldn't be kept just for vacations.

You're nice... for a moron.

It's lucky I'm married to you then.

You have moments of greatness, interspersed with sheer mediocrity.

I'm sure that's true.

At our age, tens of thousands of brain cells burn out every day, and they're never replaced.

Well, a fool like you must lose a million a day.

You're adorable, even though you do scold and fuss.

Right. I'm nearly asleep anyway.

I'll just go check on the children.

Don't worry. I'm practically asleep.

Aren't you going to set the alarm? I've got it in my hand.

If you like, you can make love to me.

Thanks for the offer, but I'm too tired.


It can't be!

You're here already? I wasn't expecting you until tomorrow.

What a lovely surprise! Are you hungry?

How sweet of you to get here sooner.

The girls are asleep. We all went to bed early.

There was nothing on TV, so we turned in early.

The girls and I have been dieting today.

Would you like a sandwich?

That sounds nice.

Or should I fry some ham and eggs? Or heat up some soup?

Sandwiches and beer will be just fine.

By the way, Peter and Katarina are going to call you on Monday.

It's quite an ordeal they're going through.

Are they getting divorced?

They don't seem to know what they want.

Is that so strange?

I advised them to get separate lawyers, but they refused.

Listen, change into your pajamas and I'll bring a tray up to the bedroom.

Sounds good.

And here I was worried you might be angry with me.

Why should I be angry? I was nasty on the phone last night.

Oh, that. That was nothing.

I called back, but you must have unplugged the phone.

I was pretty tired.

I'd spent the day with that zombie from the ministry.

It makes you wonder about the idiots in charge of our well-being.

I still think I behaved badly.

Let's drop it.

You never want to finish discussions, do you?

But this won't take long, dear.

All I wanted to say was that you were right, but so was I.

If you don't want to wear a tuxedo, that's your business. I agree.

But if I think you should get a new tux, then I have a right to say so.

I don't like tuxedos. I hate wearing a tuxedo.

It's a ridiculous getup. I feel like a dressed-up chimpanzee.

Yes, you told me that. Let's not quarrel.

I love you, even if you won't wear a tux.

It's hardly essential to our marriage.

It sure seemed that way last night. I told you I was wrong.

I'm getting hungry just watching you eat.

I can't help it. I've got to have a sandwich.

I'm so hungry, I'm dizzy.

I've lost almost five pounds this week.

Does it show? No.

I can feel a difference, though.

But it seems so pointless at times.

I mean, why should we deny ourselves the good things in life?

Why can't we be fat and cheerful?

Remember Aunt Miriam and Uncle David?

They were big, fat and cheerful.

They slept in that creaky double bed of theirs, holding hands, content with each other, fat and happy.

Why can't we be like them?

Brimming with contentment?

What's the matter?

Are you upset?

Has something happened?

What's wrong?

Tell me.

I came here to tell you something.

I've gone and fallen in love.

It's absurd, and probably a big mistake.

Most probably a big mistake.

I met her at that convention in June.

She was the interpreter and secretary.

Actually, she's studying for her degree. She's going to teach Slavic languages.

She's nothing much to look at.

You would probably think she's ugly.

I have no idea what this will lead to.

I have no idea about anything.

I'm utterly bewildered.

Of course, I'm happy in one way.

But I do feel damn guilty about you and the children.

We've always gotten along so well.

Things have been no better and no worse than for the average family.

Say something, for Christ's sake.

I don't know what to say.

You probably think it was wrong of me not to tell you sooner.

I didn't know how it would turn out. I figured I'd get over it.

I didn't want to worry you.

It's funny.

What's funny?

That I didn't notice anything.

I didn't suspect a thing.

Everything's been just like usual.

Better, in fact.

You've been so sweet.

I've been a silly, blind fool.

I didn't even notice.

Christ.

No, you never noticed.

But you've never been particularly observant.

Where do we go from here?

I don't know.

Do you want a divorce?

Are you going to marry her?

Why tell me tonight of all times?

What's the rush all of a sudden?

We're leaving for Paris tomorrow.

I want to get away.

At least for a while.

I was going this fall anyway, to see Grandin and his assistant.

Paula has this study grant and wants to use it this fall.

I want to be with her.

I can't make it without her.

So we're leaving tomorrow.

Now that I'm here, talking to you, I feel like scrapping the whole thing.

I just feel frightened and tired.

Nothing could be more absurd or clichéd.

I know just what you're thinking.

I have no excuse.

How can you know what I'm thinking?

I'm trying not to feel guilty.

That would just be an act.

This is how it is, and nothing can be done about it.

Let's go to bed. It's late.

I guess you'll be leaving early tomorrow.

I have an appointment at 9:00.

Then I suggest we go to bed.


Aren't you going to change?


You have marks on your chest. I know.

How tactless of you both.

Do you know if my gray suit is here or in town?

It's at the dry cleaners. What a nuisance.

Did you want to take it with you? Of course.

I have the receipt, if you'd like to pick it up.

I won't have time.

I'll be busy until 3:00.

And then we leave.

If you like, I could pick it up.

I'll do your packing too. You're not very good at it.

No, thank you.

Now you're being silly.

I'm quite conventional.

Besides the suit, I think you have everything you'll need.

There are clean shirts and underwear, so you can take those with you.

Why don't you travel in your jacket and flannels?

They make you look youthful. Whatever you say.

How long will you be gone?

It all depends. What do you mean?

I've been granted a leave of absence for six months, and I'm bringing a month's worth of work with me.

So I guess I'll be away for at least seven or eight months.

I want to make a clean break.

And if I'm not here when — I don't give a damn.

Do you know how long I've had this in mind?

Not the affair with Paula, but how long I've wanted to leave?

Don't say it.

I've wanted to be rid of you for four years.

No more. You're right.

Words don't mean much.

What are you going to live on? I mean, during your leave of absence.

You'll have to pay child support.

Don't worry. I'll manage.

You must have assets I'm not aware of.

Indeed I do.

How is that possible?

Shut up and listen!

Even though it's none of your damn business.

I've sold the boat and taken out a loan.

The bank will pay you and the girls 1,600 kronor a month.

We'll make other arrangements when I get back.

I suggest you ask one of your lawyer colleagues for advice.

I don't give a damn. You can name your price.

I'm not taking a thing, apart from my books, if that's all right with you.

I'll vanish. I'll dematerialize.

I'll pay all I can to support you and the children.

My needs are minimal.

All that interests me is to end this.

Guess what I'm fed up with most of all.

All this harping about what we're expected to do and what we must take into consideration.

"What will your mother think?" "What will the children say?"

"How shall we arrange the dinner party, and shouldn't we invite my father?"

"We must go to the coast, to the mountains, to St. Moritz."

"We must celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays, name days —"

Every single goddamn occasion!

My poor darling — I don't want your sympathy!

All these words I'm spouting are just empty talk.

I don't imagine for one minute that I've touched on the truth about us.

I don't think there is such a thing as the truth.

No matter what we say or do, it will hurt.

Don't go.

That's impossible.

What if I beg? It's no use, and it's embarrassing.

Couldn't you postpone your trip for a month or two?

I believe we can save our marriage.

We could make a fresh start. Allow me that much.

Maybe Paula would understand me.

Maybe I should meet her and talk to her.

Let's face this together.

You're presenting me with a fait accompli.

You're putting me in a ridiculous and intolerable situation.

I know exactly what you mean.

What will our parents say? What will your sister think?

What will our friends think? Lord, think of all the gossip!

How will it affect the girls, and their friends' mothers?

What about the dinner parties we're already scheduled to attend?

And what will you tell Peter and Katarina?

To hell with all that!

It feels good to act like a cad.

That wasn't what I meant. Then what did you mean?

Nothing.

I forgot to set the alarm.

When do you need to leave?

Please set it for 5:30.

I need to pack, and I have to be at work by 9:00.

I've been meaning to get a new alarm clock.

This one is so noisy.

And it's not very reliable either.

There. It's set for 5:30.

I'll wake up on my own anyway, so you don't have to worry.

Tell me about Paula. For the love of —

What's the point? I want you to.

Why torment yourself?

It's not self-torment. I want to know what she's like.

It's much worse to try to picture someone you know nothing about.

Do you have a picture of her?

Could we not do this?

Please do it for me.

You asked for it.

Now, where did I put my wallet? I guess it's in my coat pocket.

Here are two pictures of her.

That one was taken two years ago, when she was on vacation.

The passport picture was taken two weeks ago. It's a good likeness.

She has a lovely figure.

And lovely breasts. Right?

Yes, she has lovely breasts.

Does she dye her hair? It's possible.

What a nice smile.

How old is she? Twenty-three.

She hasn't been very lucky in love.

She's been engaged twice.

In that respect, I think she's made a muddle of her life with all kinds of men.

Does that bother you?

It sure does.

Her frankness can be quite unpleasant.

I would prefer not to know anything, but she insists on giving me the details of her erotic past.

Which is trying, since I suffer from retrospective jealousy.

She has no illusions.

She says she has no great hopes for the two of us.

She's convinced I'll go back to you, that she doesn't have a chance against you.

Sometimes it sounds like lines from some old hackneyed melodrama.

Are you good together in bed?

Yes, we are, actually.

At first it was awful.

I wasn't used to it. Being with other women, I mean.

I guess you and I have spoiled each other.

You and I have taken refuge in a hermetically sealed existence.

Everything's been orderly, and it's all gone like clockwork.

But the lack of oxygen has smothered us.

And now your little Paula will revive you?

I don't possess much self-knowledge, and I know very little about reality, in spite of all the books I've read.

But I believe that this catastrophe is the chance of a lifetime.

Has Paula filled your head with garbage like that?

How naïve can you get?

This conversation can do without your taunts and sarcastic remarks.

You're right. I'm sorry.

I'm trying.

I'm trying to be as honest as I can, and it's not exactly easy.

We've never talked like this before.

Is it any wonder we're naïve, insecure and childish?

What else could we expect?

You're in a tight spot.

Come and lie beside me.

Please.

I want you to make love to me.

Please?

For old times' sake.


Lie here in my arms.

We'll fall asleep together.

I don't think I can sleep.

The best thing would be to pack my things and leave.

Lie down and close your eyes.

You'll doze off.

We need rest. Tomorrow will be a tough day.

I'm so goddamn ashamed of myself.

We'll talk about that later.

Right now it's just you and me.

We have a few hours left together.


Would you like to pack or have breakfast first?

You decide.

Tea or coffee? Tea, please.


What about your mail?

I'll send you my address.

You can forward the important letters and pay the bills in the usual way.

The plumber was supposed to repair the bathroom in town.

Have you called him, or should I do it?

I figured it might have slipped your mind.

Should I take care of it so we get it done?

The guy is never in when I call.

I hadn't forgotten about it.

What about your car? Will you leave it in the garage?

I've asked Paula's sister to take care of it.

No point letting it sit around, and she's just moved out of town.

I understand.

Could you please cancel my dentist's appointment?

What are we going to do about your father's birthday dinner?

Please call him and explain. Would you, please?

That's almost the worst part.

Maybe I could write him a letter?

Do whatever you like. Just don't forget.

Dealing with our parents will be rough.

What should I tell the girls? Say whatever you like.

That you fell in love with someone else and walked out on us?

That about covers it. It also has the advantage of being true.

I don't expect them to understand.

I have to leave now to avoid traffic.

Good-bye, Marianne. Take care. Good-bye.

I might be back in a week. If only you were!

We'd make a fresh start.

We'd throw out our stale old routines.

We'd talk about the past.

Figure out where we went wrong.

You'd hear no accusations from me.

Johan... this all seems so unreal.

I don't know what to do.

You're shutting me out.

Any solution would be better than this.

Couldn't you promise to come back? That would tide me over.

Then you wouldn't be leaving me without hope.

Even if you have no intention of returning, you could say you do.

I have to go now.


Fredrik? It's me, Marianne. Sorry to wake you.

Is Birgit there?

No, let her sleep.

So, how are things?

Oh, so you like quiet mornings on your own.

Well, I won't keep you.

It's cloudy here.

How nice for you.

Fredrik, there's something I need to talk to you about.

I really need to talk.

You and Birgit are our friends.

I have to —

It's all so unreal, Fredrik.

You see —

I'm about to burst into tears, but crying only makes things worse.

You see...

Johan has fallen in love with another woman.

Her name is Paula, and they're leaving for Paris today.

Couldn't you talk to him and ask him to wait a bit?

Tell him he shouldn't rush off like this.

What?

You have talked to him?

I see.

I see.

So, the two of you have known all along.

You knew, but you never told me?

And you call yourselves friends?

How could you be so goddamned disloyal to me?

I don't care what you say!

All those times we've gotten together, and neither of you said a word!

Damn you!

What kind of friends are you anyway?

To hell with your reasons!

How many others already know? I'd really like to know that!

Lots of people. I see.

That's good to know!


THE VALE OF TEARS

Please come in.

You look nice. That's a pretty blouse.

You think so?

I bought it a few weeks ago, but I'm afraid it's too girlish for me.

You look great.

Take your coat off. Standing here in the hall makes me nervous.

I feel nervous too.

I haven't been able to get much done today.

It's silly, but it's been more than six months since I've seen you.

How come you suddenly — Paula's in London for a week.

Would you like a drink? Yes, please. I'd love a whiskey.

Straight. It settles the stomach. Calms you down.

You like whiskey nowadays? Yes, imagine that.

Cheers.

Aunt Berit's looking after the girls, to everyone's mutual delight.

They're going to the theater, and then to the country tomorrow.

That's convenient.

I mean, it might have been awkward seeing the kids.

How are they doing? Don't ask just to be polite.

But please don't forget their birthdays again.

I bought them presents from you, but they weren't fooled.

Couldn't you take them out to dinner or to the movies?

It's awful the way you never get in touch with them.

They hardly ever mention you anymore. That's understandable.

Can't Paula let you see us without starting a fight?

If you're going to start with that, I'd better leave.

You've said yourself that she's insanely jealous.

What am I supposed to do?

Are you such a coward that you can't stand up to her?

Yes.

I'm sorry.

That's all right.

I know you find the situation absurd, but scolding won't do any good.

Would you like some more whiskey? Yes, please.

How are things, Johan?

Pretty much as usual.

And you?

I can't complain, I guess. Could be worse.

It was silly of me to suggest this.

We can't seem to talk without hurting each other.

I have an excellent suggestion: Let's have dinner.

We're probably both starving and that's why we're so touchy.

That's an excellent suggestion.


You look funny in that haircut... and you've put on some weight.

You really turn me on.

What should we do about that? We'll see after dinner.

This wine is nice.

It's nothing special.

Just an inexpensive claret, but it's good.

I don't mind telling you things are going pretty well for me.

I've been offered a chair at Cleveland University for three years.

Really?

It's a great opportunity. Both financially and career-wise.

That's where things are happening in my field.

And I'll be glad to emigrate. There's nothing to keep me here.

I'm fed up with this academic backwater.

And I have no desire to go on being fleeced by the tax man.

So I'll be leaving this spring, if all goes well.

Congratulations.

Here I am, going on about myself. But I'm in such a good mood.

Then perhaps we could discuss our divorce?

If you're going abroad, we might as well get the ball rolling.

What do you think? As you like.

I'd like us to file for divorce.

You never know. I might want to remarry.

And things would be complicated if you're in the States.

You have someone in mind?

Maybe I do.

Come on, tell me more. It'll keep me from rattling on.

Would you like some more?

No, thanks. And stop being evasive.

How are things?

Judging by your appearance and your attitude, they must be pretty good.

I'm curious. Do you have a lover?

I'll get the coffee. You do want coffee, right?

Yes, please.


Sounds like you're disappointed.

That's just your imagination.

You should know I think about you all the time.

Wondering if you're all right, or if you're afraid or lonely.

Every day, several times a day, I wonder what I did to cause the breach between us.

I know it's a childish way of thinking, but there you are.

What did I do wrong?

Why not ask a psychiatrist?

I see one several times a week.

Sometimes we meet in private.

Is he your lover?

We did have sex a few times, but it was no good.

So we stopped that and devoted ourselves to my soul instead.

What have you learned?

Nothing.

Basically, I'm learning to talk.

And I threw your things out of the study and moved mine in.

It left me feeling guilty, but awfully bold.

Well, it led to something then.

What an enormous yawn.

Sorry. It's the wine.

And I haven't slept well. I've been so tense.

If you'd like to go, feel free.

Don't make a big deal out of it.

You can take a nap if you like. I'll wake you in an hour.

So much fuss about a yawn.

I don't want to sleep. I want to hear about your inner quest.

That's much more interesting, I promise you.

There's not much to tell.

Though something funny did strike me, but I haven't told my therapist yet.

That sounds exciting.

My therapist told me to jot down everything that pops into my head.

No matter how irrelevant.

Thoughts, memories, dreams.

I haven't written much so far. I'm not used to writing.

It generally turns out stilted and kind of silly.

Why don't you read me what you wrote last night?

I'd really like to hear it.

Would you really like to hear it? Are you sure?

I'll just go get my notebook.

I wrote for hours on end, you know.

I was up until 3:00, so I looked like the dickens this morning.

It figures that would happen the night before I see you.

You look so pretty.

So terribly pretty, Marianne.

No compliments, please. Take an interest in my soul instead.

Go sit down.

Go sit down.

Don't.

No. Please.

Let me read to you instead.

One good thing needn't exclude the other.

I've been thinking about this all this time.

About having sex with you.

I've been longing for you.

But after you leave, I'd be left with my longing, and I don't want that.

Don't you realize I'm in love with you?

Sometimes I hate you for what you did to me.

Sometimes I don't think of you for hours, and it's heaven.

I have everything I could want. I have my friends, even lovers.

There's the kids and my job that I enjoy and am good at.

Yet I'm bound to you.

I don't know why.

Maybe I'm a masochist, or the kind of woman who can only ever love one man.

I don't know.

It's so hard, Johan.

I don't want to live with anyone but you.

Other men bore me.

I'm not trying to make you feel guilty... or blackmail you emotionally.

I'm just telling you how I feel.

That's why I can't bear you kissing me and making love to me.

I can't explain it any other way.

Because you'll walk away, and I'll be left longing for you.

I've sort of enjoyed having you at a distance.

So let's keep our hands to ourselves.

You'll just leave me devastated.

I'm still in love with you.

Why say that when it isn't true?

Don't you think I've longed for you?

I have. We were good together.

We were friends. We had fun.

If we feel like having sex, why shouldn't we?

It only shows we still long for each other.

Why have all these reservations?

Why worry about tomorrow?

No, Johan.

Johan, I don't want to.

I want you to stop it!

I don't want to pine and weep and long for you.

Please understand. This is how it really is.

It's no good. If you're going to persist, you might as well leave.

I don't want to sleep with you. Please try to understand.

I'm trying to understand, but I can't.

Look, I'll just sit here.

I'll sit here and you can read to me.

Then I'll go home and call Paula and say I've been to the theater.

May I have some more coffee?


I feel terribly foolish.

I just want to hide somewhere and cry.

Well... if you like, I could leave now.

We could have dinner tomorrow.

Perhaps that would be better.

No, stay after all.

I'm busy tomorrow.

Hi there. Hi.

I really, really like you.

And I'm acting like a child.

Everything's all right.

The situation's under control.

We've pulled through the crisis.

I can barely read my own writing.

The beginning isn't important.

"Yesterday I was seized by a reckless gaiety.

For the first time this year I felt a zest for life, eager to know what the day might bring."

And so on.

Right.

Here it is.

"Suddenly I turned and looked at an old school picture from back when I was ten.

I seemed to detect something that had eluded me up to then.

To my surprise I must admit

that I don't know who I am.

I haven't the vaguest idea.

I've always done as I was told.

As far as I can remember I've been obedient, well-adjusted, almost meek.

I did assert myself once or twice as a girl, but Mother punished any lapses from convention with exemplary severity.

My entire upbringing, and that of my sisters, was aimed at making us agreeable.

I was ugly and awkward, a fact I was constantly reminded of.

I later realized that if I kept my thoughts to myself, and was ingratiating and predictable, my behavior yielded rewards.

The most momentous deception began at puberty.

All my thoughts, feelings and actions revolved around sex.

But this I never told my parents.

Or anyone at all, for that matter.

Being deceitful and secretive became second nature to me.

My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer.

I dropped hints that I wanted to be an actress, or do something else in the world of theater.

But they laughed at me.

Since then I go on pretending, faking my relationships with others, with men, always putting on an act in a desperate attempt to please.

I've never considered what I want, but only, 'What does he want me to want?'

It's not unselfishness, as I used to believe.

It's sheer cowardice.

Even worse, it stems from my being ignorant of who I am.

Our mistake was that we never broke free from our families to create something worthwhile on our own terms."


Oh, darn, I fell asleep.

And your words were so interesting too.

Forgive me.

Could you go on? That is, if I haven't offended you.

I think you should go home and get some sleep.

I'm not offended. Really.

Yeah, I guess I should go.

Please keep in touch, if only for the children's sake.

Of course.

You're always welcome here.

If only Paula wasn't so jealous.

But I guess she feels justified. It's hard on her too.

When will you know about the US?

In a month or so.

Let me know how it goes.

I'll call or write.

We need to decide about the divorce.

Do you want to marry again? I don't know.

I'd rather wait.

What do you think?

I'm not sure what I think.


You will stay tonight, won't you?

Yes, I'll stay.


How do you feel?

Frightened.

How about mustering up some courage?

Some courage?


What is it? Can't you sleep?

Not a chance.

I feel miserable. I'd better go home. Forgive me.


That's Paula's handwriting. She wrote to me.

What's she up to now? She sent this before she left.

You should read it.

Read it here.

"Dear Marianne, I suspect you're surprised to get a letter from me.

I assure you there's no ulterior motive behind this letter.

I took this job in London to get away for a week and thereby break a vicious cycle of jealousy and suspicion.

I know Johan will contact you the minute I've gone.

I only have myself to blame, as I've kept him from seeing you and the children.

If only it were possible to put things right."

Isn't that typical of Paula.

She wants us to be friends.

She can't stand this hostility.

How touching — particularly the fact that you believe her.

"Johan is the gentlest, kindest, most affectionate person I've ever met.

He has no self-confidence at all, though he tries to put up a brave and cheerful front."

You can say anything about anyone. It always fits in some respect.


THE ILLITERATES Come on in.

I'm glad we could meet here at your office.

Saves us some time.

It's not exactly cozy.

But it's fine for divorce matters.

Look at this.

Here's the agreement, word for word as we decided.

Then I don't need to read it. Never sign what you haven't read.

Don't look so grumpy. I'm not grumpy.

You're as grumpy as can be.

Here's a list of our common property and its distribution.

It's just a list. It doesn't require a signature.

You get Granny's clock? That must be a mistake.

Your grandmother gave it to me. We've already discussed this.

I don't recall discussing Granny's clock.

If you're so attached to it, keep it, but it happens to be mine.

You're always right, aren't you? Take the clock.

I'm not going to squabble over trifles.

Make sure I haven't fleeced you out of anything else.

Your sarcasm is wasted on me. I have such a miserable cold.

How about a glass of fine old brandy?

Sounds good.

Egerman gave me a bottle.

Some grateful Parisian colleagues gave him a whole case.

Cheers.

Not bad, huh? I like it.

I don't care for brandy as a rule, but this is very nice.

I feel better already.

It's hard. What's hard?

Getting divorced. It's just paperwork.

I still think it's hard.

We've been living apart for ages, we rarely see each other, we've both agreed to it, but I still feel guilty.

It's strange.

It's strange.

So it is.

On my way over, I was in a good mood.

I was determined not to cry or be affected by it all.

You said you felt guilty.

Let's go sit over on the couch instead.

And put the lights out. The glare is ghastly.

How can you work in such a bleak room?

The couch isn't comfortable either.

It's fine if you put your feet up.

More brandy? Yes, please.

Comfy? Yes.

Is this building empty tonight?

There's a night watchman. How nice.

What's nice about it?

I don't know. It's just nice, that's all.

Nothing's nice when you're sick.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's not like it's terminal.

This gets better and better.

You really are in a good mood.

Yes, I am.

To be honest, I'm in love.

With that David person?

No, that's over. Really?

Don't worry about that. Give me a kiss.

I've got a cold.

I never catch your germs. So give me a kiss. I want you to.


Was it what you expected?

Much better.

Now put your hand on my breast.

Are you seducing me? That's right.

Right here on the carpet, right now.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

You look suspicious. Afraid of the night watchman?

After all, we're still married.

Come lie on top of me.

People should make love on the floor more often.

Lock the door. No one will walk in on us.

You never know. I'm kind of a prude. Lock the door.

Just in case the watchman comes. Right.

Hurry up.

He might be eavesdropping. No, it's time for his rounds.

Is it wise to take your slacks off with a cold like that?

You can keep me warm. So you don't freeze your thing off.

Poor baby, you're so miserable.

Kiss me. I enjoy being kissed by you.


Close your eyes or I'll feel self-conscious.

Now put your hands on my hips.

Good. That's nice.

What if the watchman walked in now?

He could join us. We're liberated.

Let's stay here all night... and just drink and make love.

We'll file our divorce papers tomorrow.


A penny for your thoughts. My thoughts?

Wouldn't you like to know.

Are you hungry? Always.

What about some steak tartare and beer?

You shouldn't be taking me out.

I'm in Uppsala with my students.

Poor Paula.

In that case, I'd love to have dinner with you.

Where's the bathroom?

Down the hall and to the left.

Let's sign these papers and go out and celebrate.

Pay tribute to a long and happy marriage.

I think I'll take them home and study them in peace and quiet.

Why the about-face now after all our talks?

You told me yourself I should read them.

Then by all means, let's read through the whole thing.

Make sure I haven't cheated you.

Why are you so upset?

I'm not. Let's start reading.

You look pissed off to me.

I am, but I'll control myself.

Like I always do when subjected to your whims.

Let's get off this tedious subject.

It's late, and tomorrow's a working day.

Don't you want to have dinner? No, thank you.

I'm grateful for the favors already bestowed upon me.

Talk about whims. Now look here, Johan!

It's pointless even trying to discuss this now.

Let's stuff these into an envelope.

Then you can take them home, and you and Paula can pore over the wording to make sure I haven't screwed you over.

What's going on? Nothing.

We were good friends a minute ago. Right.

By the way, don't forget Eva's birthday.

Do I usually forget the children's birthdays?

No, because I always remind you.

Could you pay for her trip to France? I can't afford it.

How much is it? Two thousand kronor.

Are you out of your mind? Out of the question!

Ask your mother to foot the bill.

I've borrowed too much from her as it is.

Well, I can't afford it. I just paid Karin's orthodontist.

Doesn't she have free dental care? She refuses to go to that clinic.

Eva will have to cancel her trip. I don't have any money.

It won't do her harm to learn she can't have everything.

She's too goddamn spoiled.

And she has no manners.

Last week she visited my mother and her behavior was appalling.

Your mother told you that? Well, Eva's at a difficult age.

You'll have to discipline them. Don't let the girls rule the roost.

What kind of talk is that?

They trust me.

We talk about everything, and for that I'm grateful.

I could care less about petty details like manners.

Tell her I can't afford the trip.

Tell her yourself.

Why? You have custody.

All I do is fork out huge sums in child support, which I'm taxed on, leaving me high and dry.

You and I were born with silver spoons in our mouths.

We've squandered our resources, leaving us poor, bitter and angry.

However trite, it's the truth.

We're emotional illiterates.

We've been taught about anatomy and farming methods in Africa.

We've learned mathematical formulas by heart.

But we haven't been taught a thing about our souls.

We're tremendously ignorant about what makes people tick.

That signals the end of my lecture. I had nothing more to say anyway.

How about some more brandy? Then we can decide about dinner.

I don't agree with you, but no matter.

By the way, that job in the US went down the tubes.

Not that it matters. That's a shame.

Well, I was pretty disappointed.

There was the usual wheeling and dealing.

First things were postponed, then there was no money, and then they sent someone else.

That's life. Cheers!

I'll be 45 this summer.

I can expect to live another 30 years.

Viewed objectively, I'm dead weight.

I'll spend the next 20 years being a damn nuisance.

I'm an expensive, unproductive unit that ought to be eliminated.

And I'm supposed to be in my prime, brimming with experience.

But it's, "Throw the loser out.

Let him rot!"

I'm so goddamn tired.

I hardly know who I am.

Someone spat on me and now I'm drowning in the spittle.

Am I boring you?

It's funny. What's funny?

I wanted to have sex with you today to see if I felt anything.

All I felt was lukewarm affection.

You know what? I think I'm breaking free at last.

It's taken a long time and it's been very painful, but I'm free of you now to start living my own life, and that feels absolutely wonderful.

Allow me to congratulate you.

I don't know why I told you.

It's callous of me to say it when you're having such a rough time.

But oddly enough, I don't care.

I've taken your feelings into account far too often.

Being considerate killed our love.

If I hadn't let myself get sidetracked by guilt, I'd have known everything we did was wrong.

Remember after Karin was born?

When sex became impossible?

How we put the blame on my two pregnancies.

We concocted so many reasons why making love gave us no pleasure.

Warning lights were flashing all around us, but we ignored them.

These postmortems are so pointless.

Your idiotic sarcasm drives me crazy!

What gives you the right to tell me what to think and feel?

Lord, how I hate you.

I used to think that quite often.

"Lord, how I hate her."

Especially when we made love and I felt your indifference.

And when I saw you naked at the bidet afterwards, washing out the nasty stuff I'd deposited inside you, I'd think, "I hate her body, the way she moves."

I should have beaten you.

I wanted to smash that hard white resistance that emanated from you.

But we chatted away and talked about how well we got along.

Tell me, why do I enjoy sex now?

I do everything he asks.

Just you wait.

When you're married to him, everything will repeat itself.

Just you wait and see. Your behavior's deeply rooted.

Then you'll look for a new lover to free you from your loathing.

You're wrong.

There is such a thing as simple affection.

To say nothing of sensuousness.

And physical desire.

In your case, that's all blocked.

Do you really think I wasn't miserable too?

I'd think, "Is this how it's supposed to be?"

We'd console ourselves with the thought that sex wasn't everything, that in other respects we were happy.

Talk about deluding ourselves.

You're forgetting certain unpleasant details.

Be so kind as to refresh my memory.

You know what you did?

You cashed in on your sex organs.

They were a bargaining chip.

A night of sex for a night of peace.

Good behavior earned me a lay.

Bad behavior or criticism made you withdraw.

It was grotesque the way you carried on.

You were worse than any whore!

You would never face the truth! What goddamned truth?

Some sort of female truth, or your truth?

You're completely out of your mind! Am I supposed to be a doormat?

Am I a substitute for your mother?

All that carping about how I neglected our home!

That's not true! Yes, it is. That's all I ever heard!

You piled the guilt on, you and your parents!

I felt inadequate at work and at home, and I was a washout in bed too.

I was hedged in by all the griping and endless demands!

Goddamn you!

Was it so strange that I used sex for leverage?

I was outnumbered, having to fight you, both sets of parents and society!

When I think about what I endured, I could scream!

I tell you this: never again!

You sit there whining about conspiracies.

Well, it serves you right!

I hope you'll have it rammed down your throat that you're a useless parasite.

You're being utterly grotesque!

So what? That's what I've become!

The difference between your grotesqueness and mine is that I won't give in!

I intend to face reality the way it is.

If there's one thing I truly appreciate, it's being alive.

I enjoy overcoming difficulties.

I don't ask for any favors — Great!

Then we don't have to feel sorry for each other.

We can chuck our guilt out the window.

We're almost human.

It's a pity we ever met in the first place and decided to live together.

What a glorious fiasco.

The sooner we sign the papers, the better.

We'll divide our worldly goods and go our separate ways, thank you.

Do you think I don't know what you're thinking?

You don't want a divorce!

That's preposterous!

Is it? Then prove it by signing the papers right now!

All right, I will.

Johan, be honest now.

Look at me!

You've changed your mind.

You don't want a divorce, do you? You were going to tell me today, right?

Would that be such a crime?

You want to hear me admit that I give up? Well, I do!

I'm sick of Paula!

I want to come home!

Don't look at me like that.

I'm a failure. I'm going downhill.

I'm scared and I have no home.

This isn't the right time to ask you to resume our marriage.

If you think pity will help — You asked me, and I'm giving you a straight answer.

I was tied to you more profoundly than I realized.

I needed our home and family... and a regular life to lead.

I'm tired of being alone. Alone?

Loneliness with Paula is worse than being all alone.

I can't stand either.

I can't talk about this.

Now you know everything.

Please send a cab to Malmrosgatan 45.

Thank you.

Want a lift? You really shouldn't drive.

I'll stay here a while longer.

Please don't brood.

It's none of your business. Come on.

I want you to stay. I don't want to.

You're tired and drunk. Let me go!

I don't want you to go.

Don't be ridiculous. Don't be ridiculous yourself.

We never behaved like this in our marriage. Let's not start now.

Give me the key.

I don't give a damn what you say!

Now I can see your well-ordered brain whirling away.

"What do I do now? Has he gone crazy?

Is he going to hit me?"

If you really want to know, I think you're a riot.

If I'm such a riot, why aren't you laughing?

You look scared to me.

Let me cancel my cab —

What for?

They only wait around for ten minutes or so.

Just take it easy.

This will take quite a while.

Fine.

So what do you want to say? Nothing.

I just want to look at you.

Go ahead.

I might have expected this from someone like you.

I constantly warn women in the process of a divorce against being alone with their aggrieved husbands.

I never thought it would happen to me.

Shut your mouth.

I'm not afraid.

I couldn't care less what you do.

Shut up! You're crazy!


Give me the key. I'll go wash off this blood.

I'm not letting you out.

You asshole!

You bitch! I'll show you!

I could kill you! I could kill you!

Marianne, are you —

Hey, are you all right?

I guess I've only got myself to blame.

How about that key?

You want me to help you? No, please don't.


IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT IN A DARK HOUSE


What fun this is!

I went out to the summer cottage yesterday and turned on the heat, and I cleaned and stocked up on food.

Just like old times.

When was I there last?

Seven years ago.

What about you? I don't spend much time there.

Henrik's not fond of the seaside.

The girls and I go out there occasionally, but they have their own lives nowadays.

How's your husband?

Overworked.

He suffers from high blood pressure.

How's your wife?

She's in Italy for a rest cure.

Isn't it amazing they're both abroad at the same time?

It's practically indecent.

That's what's so nice.

The place hasn't changed much.

It's a bit dilapidated.

It needs fixing up, but we can't afford it.

Put the car away or Erik will see it and come over.

Imagine the gossip if he saw you. I will, dear.

Aren't you going to do it now?

I'll do it later.


This does feel kind of strange.

Why don't we lie down on the bed?

Come on.

This is silly... but I'm as nervous as if it were the first time.

But it's not. Come on.

It's been nearly a year now.

It was the day before my birthday.

And today's August 28.

You seduced me.

I did.

Did you ever go see the last act? No.

We must have looked funny sneaking out of the theater.

What made you decide to do it? I don't know.

The second I entered the theater, I saw you sitting there all alone.

You looked so lonely. It seemed natural to pounce on you.

I was terribly pleased.

So was I.

You said, "Let's go."

And you blushed.

No wonder. I had such a hard-on.

You got me pretty hot too.

We hadn't seen each other for two whole years.

That's right. Two years.

And now it's our first anniversary.

No.

What do you mean?

It's not our first anniversary.

It's our 20th.

We got married 20 years ago.

That's right. Twenty years.

An entire lifetime.

We've spent a whole grown-up life together.

Isn't that strange?

My darling... my sweetheart.

It feels strange to be in this wretched old bed together.

Our hotel rooms were better. More anonymous.

It was wrong of us to come here.

We should have gone to Denmark.

There wasn't time. This is fine.

It isn't fine at all.

I know. We'll call Fredrik. He has a cottage nearby.

How will we get in?

I expect a neighbor has a key. This'll never work.

There's no harm in trying.

Fredrik? Johan here.

How are you?

I've never been better.

Listen, this is a delicate matter. Are you alone?

Could I possibly borrow your cottage for the weekend?

Exactly, but it's not what you think.

Very pretty. Young?

Almost too young.

It's a sticky situation.

Thanks! That's great.

I owe you one.

Don't say a word to Birgit.

Women don't understand things like this.

Right then.

The key's under the stone step. Fine.

Yes, blonde.

With a fabulous figure.

I'll call you.

I really appreciate this.

Thanks. Give my love to Birgit.

No, better scratch that.

Bye.

Here it is. Nice place.

Here's the stone step. It must be here.


Let's clean up. Yes, let's.


What's wrong?

Are you crying?

You're so touching. I'm being silly.

Touching? Well, I'll be damned.

It's the truth.

My dear, beloved Johan.

You've grown so small. You think I've shrunk too?

You're better this way.

Soft and gentle.

You used to look so tense and guarded.

You don't say.

Are people mean to you?

I don't know.

I've stopped being on the defensive.

Someone said I'd gone slack and gave in too easily. It's not true.

But I've accepted my true dimensions with a certain sense of humility.

It makes me kind... and a bit mournful.

You had such great expectations.

No, you're wrong.

Those were my family's expectations.

I really wanted to live up to them though.

You wanted to know how things are with my husband?

Getting married was a big mistake.

We looked on it as a joke.

When did you meet?

A few years ago.

To be frank, it was a sexual affair.

I see.

Henrik is very — How should I put this?

Convincing in that respect.

He truly enjoys sex.

And he made me realize that I felt the same way.

I wasn't all that keen on it before.

So I remember.

You don't like this subject, do you? No, I don't.

But it can't be helped.

I was obsessed by this new sensation.

I felt insatiable.

How nice.

For you, I mean.

I became very attached to Henrik, and he was pretty fond of me.

But it wasn't long before I caught him with other women.

What do you know.

I was hurt and humiliated.

Even jealous.

Jealous? You? Can you imagine?

There was this violent scene, and I told him to go to hell.

Well, did he? Yes.

He did.

He said I was too histrionic, and then he left.

Later I begged him to come back.

Johan, you look so thoughtful.

I was just thinking how everything's fine, that's all.

Fantastic.

Couldn't be better.

Only I can't take it!

I knew you didn't want to hear the truth.

Do you really think I care about your orgasms with that workaholic?

I applaud your emancipation. Most impressive.

You should write a novel.

The Women's Lib movement would rejoice.

I hope you're not as stupid as you sound.

I don't give a damn!

Suddenly it matters terribly.

No, not really.

It's just a taste of the marvelous things life has to offer.

Think of the awareness we've gained.

It's magnificent. Almost fantastic.

We've discovered ourselves. It's unbelievable.

One faces up to his insignificance, the other, to her greatness.

Here we are, bad-mouthing our spouses.

They're almost right here in this room with us.

It's mental group sex to the max!

It's like a textbook on life.

It's fabulously clever, but I can't stand it.

I know what you mean, but I don't find it terrible.

I can't abide this cold light directed on my every endeavor.

How I battle with futility.

I console myself with the thought that life is what you make of it.

But it's of no comfort.

I want something to long for.

I don't feel the same way.

I realize that.

I persevere.

I enjoy myself.

I rely on common sense and my gut feeling.

They work in tandem.

I'm content with my direction.

Time has given me a third partner: experience.

You should be a politician.

Maybe you're right. Good Lord.

I like people.

I enjoy negotiation, prudence, compromise.

Rehearsing your campaign speech?

Am I so impossible?

Only when you preach.

I won't say another word.

Promise me: no more intimate truths tonight.

I promise.

Promise me you won't mention that orgasmic athlete again.

Not a word.

Promise to rein in your awful levelheadedness.

That will be difficult, but I'll try.

Could you possibly — I say possibly — use your boundless feminine powers sparingly?

I see that I'll have to.

All right, then.

Let's go to bed.


What is it? There, there.

Come, sit here beside me.

There, there.

What brings on nightmares?

What do you think causes them?

Maybe it's something you ate. You think so?

Unless there's something in your well-ordered world you can't get at.

Hold me. I'm shivering, even though I'm hot.

I might be coming down with something. The girls have been sick.

You'll feel better soon.

Pull the covers up.

That's nice. What were you dreaming about?

We were crossing a dangerous road.

I wanted you and the girls to hold on to me.

But my hands were missing.

All I had left were stumps.

I'm sliding around in soft sand.

I can't get a hold of you.

You're all up there on the road, and I can't reach you.

What a horrible dream.

Johan? Yes, my dear.

Are we living in utter confusion? You and I?

No, all of us. What do you mean?

I'm talking about fear, uncertainty and ignorance.

Do you think that secretly we're afraid we're slipping downhill and don't know what to do?

Yes, I think so.

Is it too late?

Yes.

But we shouldn't say things like that. Only think them.

Have we missed something important?

All of us? No, you and I.

What would that be?

At times I can read your mind, and I feel such tenderness that I forget myself.

Without having to efface myself.

It's a new sensation. Do you understand?

I understand.

Sometimes it grieves me that I've never loved anyone.

I don't think I've ever been loved either.

That distresses me.

Now you're being dramatic.

Am I? I know what I feel.

I love you in my selfish way.

And I think you love me in your fussy, pestering way.

We love each other in an earthly and imperfect way.

But you're so demanding.

I am.

But here I am, in the middle of the night, without much fanfare, in a dark house somewhere in the world, sitting with my arms around you.

And your arms are around me.

I'm not the most compassionate of men.

No, you're not.

I don't seem to have the imagination for it.

No, you're rather unimaginative.

I don't know what my love looks like, and I can't describe it.

Most of the time I can't feel it.

And you really think I love you too?

Yes, I do.

But if we harp on it, our love will evaporate.

Let's sit like this all night.

Oh, no, let's not.

No?

One leg's gone to sleep, my left arm's practically dislocated, I'm sleepy, and my back's cold.

Then let's snuggle down.

Yes, let's.

Good night, my darling. It was good talking to you.

Sleep well.

Thanks. Same to you.