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Film / En Passion

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En Passion (The Passion of Anna in English) is a 1969 film directed by Ingmar Bergman, starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow in the lead roles and fellow Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson and Erland Josephson in supporting roles.

The main character is Andreas, a former geologist who has to hide in the countryside. He meets Anna, with whom he later starts a romance, although it might be that Anna is a somewhat too damaged goods even for Andreas, who himself is quite a broken man. He also occasionally interacts with his middle class neighbours, architect Elis and his wife Eva (with whom Andreas has an affair that ultimately leads nowhere before he meets Anna).


This film is the third in a row where Liv Ullmann and von Sydow play an onscreen couple after Hour of the Wolf and Skammen. It is often incorrectly identified as Bergman's first color film, a title that actually belongs to All These Women, made five years earlier.


  • Alliterative Name: Anna and Andreas collectively have the one as an official couple.
  • An Axe to Grind: Andreas nearly kills Anna with an axe. He does not however, putting it into the wall and merely beating her up.
  • Bookworm: Played with; Andreas has two bookcases full of books, somewhat unusually for a small country house. However, he is never seen with any of them. When Eva asks him whether he has read all the books in his library, he only answers that he has not read all of them.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Anna Fromm, who recently lost her husband and child. It is later implied that she might be the breaker rather than the broken one.
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    • Later this trope is reproduced literally when a bird hits the glass, is seriously hurt and mercykilled by Andreas.
  • Call-Back: A character played by Liv Ullmann in Anna's B&W dream of Anna is most probably her character Skammen. At the beginning of her dream, she disembarks from the boat on which she remained in the ending scene of that film.
  • Captain Obvious: Of very gloomy kind: Johan writes that when he was beaten up, he could not resist his attackers because he was out of strength.
  • Collector of the Strange: Elis collects the photos of humans sorted by theme, including a collection of photos of violent acts committed against people.
  • Color Motif: Most of the colours in the film are dull and muted, but whenever a bright red object appears, misfortune soon follows.
  • Confession Cam: An early example. All four actors express their ideas on their characters.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • It is revealed in the second half of the film that Andreas served a term in prison.
    • Anna's past may be even more dark and troubled than the first half of the film implies; she may be the one who killed her previous husband and their son.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eva tells Elis that no-one besides her pays much attention to his snarking.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: For Andreas. He was trained to be a geologist.
  • Downer Ending: Anna proves to be very much not what she seems, and she and Andreas separate after a very bad fight.
  • Dramatic Drop: Anna drops a bowl of milk when Andreas once lies to her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Johan, when he is accused of killing the animals and tormented by the unknown assaulters.
  • The End: The film ends with the title "Slut", which is Swedish for "end", though some Anglophone viewers may find this ironically funny in relation to the story.
  • Fiery Redhead: Anna has red hair and is especially passionate when claiming to value honesty.
  • Fourth Wall Breaking: Every twenty minutes or so, the film switches to a brief interview with one of the lead actors (in order, von Sydow, Ullmann, Andersson, Josephson), where they give their thoughts on the character they're playing. Josephson's interview is notable since it comes up long after Elis is Put on a Bus. This was the first time Bergman tried something like that, and he never did it again.
  • Hidden Depths: Anna might have killed her previous husband and son, though it is never confirmed.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Probably invoked for the truth-loving Anna, but later decisively subverted.
  • The Insomniac: Eva has problems sleeping at night. She reveals that when she was pregnant she had to be hospitalized because of it, and when she was given an injection to help her sleep, the dosage was accidentally too strong and she miscarried.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The two vigilantes who tormented Johan, who was driven to suicide as a result. It is never indicated that Johan revealed their identity though he could do it.
    • Anna, as it is hinted that she might have killed her husband and her son.
  • Kubrick Stare: When Elis photographs Andreas, he tells him to move down his head, aiming for this effect.
  • Meaningful Name: Anna Fromm, Fromm meaning "pious" (or kindly) in German. This name may or may not be in agreement with her true nature.
  • Mercy Killing: For a Broken Bird (a real avian, not a human female) by Andreas in the presence of Anna.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The wiener dog obviously was not, but the sheep and horse may have been.
  • Nordic Noir: As a tale of a man whose relationship with a Mysterious Woman with a possible Dark and Troubled Past turns him into an obsessive mess, you can call this a Bergman riff on Film Noir concepts, and with the Fårö setting, it can be seen as an early predecessor of the genre.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Eva can't sleep at night, so she falls asleep at random times and places. Andreas once finds her sleeping in her car during the day. Next time she falls asleep at his house.
  • Official Couple: Utterly oddly Eva, the former lover of Andreas, once says that Andreas and Anna are a couple and that she is not jealous before their relationship is ever shown onscrean. It is only after Eva mentions it that Andreas and Anna are shown together as a couple.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted as the deceased husband of Anna was called Andreas, like the main character played by von Sydow. He never appears, but the viewer is shown his photo. Elis lampshades this, calling the deceased man "the namesake" for Andreas.
  • Only in It for the Money: Elis recognises that he only works as an architect because his earnings let him satisfy his various needs.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Andreas finds a dog in a noose on his plot, he removes the rope before the dog chokes to death.
    • Andreas is the only one to support Johan when he is wrongly accused of killing the animals.
  • Pretty in Mink: Eva wears a fur coat in the scene where she visits Andreas.
  • Put on a Bus: Eva and Elis are absent from the last act of the film.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who was actually killing animals in the country? The one who was accused by the public opinion turned out to be innocent.
  • The Scream: Andreas lets out a wail of despair when Eva leaves him after their brief romance.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Eva leaves Andreas after their brief romance, she says that she might be the dullest lover he ever had.
  • Sell-Out: Elis thinks he has sold out, as he works as a highly paid architect purely for the money.
  • Snuff Film: Elis' photo collection includes a drawer of acts of violence committed against people.
  • Splash of Color: In general, the colours in this movie are very dull; however, several times a splash of red punctuates the key moments:
    • First, the blood of the dead sheep is as bright as in a typical giallo.
    • Later, bright red bricks are shown on the ground immediately before the police tell Andreas that Johan has committed suicide.
    • Finally Anna's kerchief is bright red in the decisive scene between her and Andreas. She violently accuses him and he beats her up. The kerchief ends on the ground where the viewer previously saw the dead sheep and bricks.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Andreas and Eva have a very short fling once Elis leaves for a business trip.
  • Time Skip: The voiceover comments in the beginning of one scene that Anna and Andreas have lived together for several days. Later, the voiceover says they have lived together for several years and rarely have conflicts.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: It is never revealed who killed all those animals.
  • Wimp Fight: When the obviously much stronger Andreas attacks Anna, he hits her very maladroitly so that she manages to put up quite a fight against him for some time, delivering several blows. It is implied that he is not much of a fighter, although in the end he still beats her up.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Andreas definitely would once Anna accuses him of every sin imaginable and repeatedly cries at him.