A famous concert pianist (Ingrid Bergman) visits her daughter (Liv Ullmann) in Sweden; the animosity between them is obvious, caused by the mother’s previous lack of presence. During the making of this film, director Ingmar Bergman was going through several crises (not least fighting government auditors) but it doesn’t really show in this passionate, guilt-laden drama. Much like the concert pianist in the film, this is Ingrid Bergman coming home, to her daughter in the movie, to Swedish cinema in real life. Convincing performances by her as the selfish artist who can’t handle being close to her family, Ullman as the admiring daughter, and Lena Nyman in a very demanding part.
1978-West Germany-France. 93 min. Color. Produced by Katinka Faragó. Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Cinematography: Sven Nykvist. Cast: Ingrid Bergman (Charlotte), Liv Ullmann (Eva), Lena Nyman (Helena), Halvar Björk, Marianne Aminoff, Erland Josephson… Gunnar Björnstrand, Mimi Pollak.
Trivia: Original titles: Höstsonaten (in Sweden), Herbstsonate (in West Germany). Later a stage play.
Golden Globe: Best Foreign Film.
Last word: “If I had had the strength to do what I intended to do at the beginning, it would not have turned out that way… So the time has come for me to look in the mirror and ask: Where are we going? Has Bergman begun to make Bergman films? I find that ‘Autumn Sonata’ is an annoying example.” (Ingmar Bergman, Images: My Life in Film)