Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

A still from the film.
Updated 19 July 2018

Pressures and pains that tear a couple apart

DENVER: Like a gallery wall-sized enlargement of a microscopic image, “Scenes from a Marriage” is all about size, space and perspective.
Directed by Ingmar Bergman — whose birth centenary was marked this week — at 281 minutes long, its unwieldly length presents an intimidating canvas, yet the claustrophobic intimacy of its gaze is unprecedented: The two leads are alone in nearly every scene, many of which play out for more than a half-hour at a time.
Premiered in 1973, the work is technically a TV mini-series, but such is its legend that theaters continue to program its nearly five-hour arc in its entirety. A three-hour cinematic edit was prepared for US theater consumption a year later (it won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was ruled ineligible for the corresponding Oscar).
Not a lot a happens but, then again, everything does. Shot over four months on a shoestring budget, its six chapters punctuate the period of a decade. The audience are voyeurs, dropped amid the precious and pivotal moments which may not make up a life, but come to define it.
We meet the affluent Swedish couple Marianne and Johan — played by regular screen collaborators Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson, both of whom clocked at least 10 Bergman credits — gloating about ten years’ happy marriage to a visiting reporter. This opening magazine photoshoot is the only time we see their two children on camera, and inevitably the image projected is as glossy, reflective and disposable as the paper it will be printed on.
The pressures, pains and communication breakdowns which tear this unsuited pair apart are sadly familiar. The series was blamed for a spike in European divorce rates. It may be difficult to survive the piece liking either lead, but impossible not to emerge sharing deep pathos with them both. Sadly, much of the script is said to be drawn from Bergman’s real-life off-screen relationship with Ullmann.
It’s a hideously humane, surgical close-up likely to leave even the happiest couple groping into the ether on their way out of the cinema.


Pizza restaurant launches Spain’s first virtual waiter app

Updated 04 August 2020

Pizza restaurant launches Spain’s first virtual waiter app

  • Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the “Funky Pay” app on their phones

PALAFRUGELL, Spain: A restaurant on Spain’s northeastern Mediterranean coast is pioneering a dining experience that allows customers to avoid most face-to-face contact with staff and minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion.
Customers at Funky Pizza, in Palafrugell on the Costa Brava popular with tourists, can browse the menu, order and pay via the “Funky Pay” app on their phones — the first time a purpose-designed app has been integrated into a restaurant’s ordering system in Spain.
A waiter does bring the order to the table.
“Through this system we have tried to keep physical distance with our clients, which is what people are looking for during COVID,” said restaurant owner Carlos Manich.
Staff manage the orders from screens behind the bar.
The restaurant has had to adapt to social distancing rules by becoming table service only and reminding customers on entry they must wear face masks at all times when not at their tables.
“The application is very user-friendly ... and you can also track your order and see when it is in the kitchen or when it will be arriving,” said Claudia Medina, 26, eating at the restaurant.
But some customers disagreed. “I think we lose the feeling with the waiter, for example when you order you can’t ask about different preferences or quantities,” said customer Javier Comas, 26.