After the Rehearsal (1984)

after the rehearsal poster 1984 movie bergman
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good acting

The film is mostly shot like a play and looks like a play

Movie Info

Movie Name: After the Rehearsal

Studio: Cinematograph AB

Genre(s): Drama

Release Date(s):  April 9, 1984 (Sweden)/May 12, 1984 (Cannes)/June 21, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

after the rehearsal lena olin erland josephson relationship

Ms. Egerman…you’re trying to seduce me…aren’t you?

Aging theater director Henrik Vogler (Erland Josephson) has his traditional cool down period after his rehearsal where he thinks how to progress with his production of A Dream Play.  When one of his actors named Anna Egerman (Lena Olin) returns to find him there, they begin to talk about their shared past and her mother Rakel (Ingrid Thulin) who struggled with alcoholism.  As Anna explores the depths of her relationship with her mother, a new relationship begins to form and play out between Henrik and Anna.

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, After the Rehearsal (Efter repetitionen) is a Swedish made-for-TV film.  Following Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander in 1982, the movie received a worldwide theatrical released after screening at Cannes.  The film was released by Criterion Collection as part of the Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema box-set.

Sometimes Bergman is heavy and loaded and sometimes Bergman is short and sweet.  After the Rehearsal is one of the short and sweet Bergman movies, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks punch.

after the rehearsal ingrid thulin erland josephson

You really want to get drunk? In the future your daughter will come on to me

The film is only seventy minutes long, but it doesn’t feel short or long.  Despite being made for television, it feels much, much more like a stage play both in tone and story development.  The film is mixed with flashbacks that act as almost stage “asides” and dialogue that is impossibly depth filled while still feeling natural.  The climax of the play has Henrik proposing a relationship with Anna, how it would evolve, and how it would end…and it feels very real.

Also like a stage play, the cast has to be completely connected since there are only three of them really sharing the stage.  While the flashbacks contain younger versions of the main actors, the film is predominantly between Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, and Lena Olin.  Erland’s older character is reliving his past through Olin’s character and the tumultuous relationship he had with her mother played by Thulin.  I honestly thought that there might have been a reveal that he was actually her father, but fortunately that wasn’t the case because it would have been really creepy in regards to how their relationship plays out.

after the rehearsal lena olin erland josephson

Seriously…I just wanted to chill backstage for a bit and you come in and bust up my zen

Part of the reason it feels so much like a play is that it takes place on the stage of a playhouse.  It could easily be converted to a play and everything from the movie’s directions would translate into stage directions.  As a result, the movie feels a bit smaller, but more intimate than some of Bergman’s bigger films.

After the Rehearsal is a nice film about the past, aging, regrets, and the keys to love.  The movie is rich in emotion and has three characters that feel very real…which is a testament to Bergman’s craft since he is able to create these characters in such a short time.  Bergman followed After the Rehearsal with another TV film The Blessed Ones in 1986.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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