Face to Face (1976 film)

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Face to Face
Face to face movie poster.jpg
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Liv Ullmann
Erland Josephson
Gunnar Björnstrand
Aino Taube
Kristina Adolphson
Country of origin Sweden
Original language(s) Swedish
Producer(s) Lars-Owe Carlberg
Running time 114-177 minutes (multiple versions)
Distributor Paramount Pictures
Original release 5 April 1976 (1976-04-05) (United States)
28 April 1976 (1976-04-28) (Sweden)

Face to Face (Swedish: Ansikte mot ansikte) is a 1976 Swedish psychological drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. It tells the story of a psychiatrist who is suffering from a mental illness. It stars Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson.

It is also the film debut of Lena Olin.


The film was conceived and produced as a four-part mini-series on Swedish television with a running time of 177 minutes. The episodes were entitled:

  1. Uppbrottet (The Separation)
  2. Gränsen (The Border)
  3. Skymningslandet (The Twilight Land)
  4. Återkomsten (The Return)

It was edited down for theatrical releases for running times from 114 to 135 minutes. However, the theatrical version premiered first.[1] The film was later screened at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival held in May, but was not entered into the main competition.[2] The television version aired in Sweden over four weeks in May and June of that year, and has not been released for home media.


Dr. Jenny Isaksson (Liv Ullmann) is a psychiatrist married to another psychiatrist; both are successful in their jobs but slowly, agonizingly, Jenny succumbs to a breakdown. She is haunted by images and emotions from her past and eventually cannot function as a wife, doctor, or individual.


Principal cast (in credits order)[edit]

Rest of cast (in alphabetical order)[edit]


Aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports 82% approval of Face to Face based on 11 reviews. Vincent Canby was highly favorable and wrote, "Mr. Bergman is more mysterious, more haunting, more contradictory than ever, though the style of the film has never been more precise, clear, levelheaded."[3] Roger Ebert, while calling it "confused and sometimes overwrought", awarded it three out of four stars and lauded Ullmann's performance as "one of the greatest performances in an Ingmar Bergman film" up to that point.[4]


Face to Face was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress (Ullmann) and Best Director (Bergman).

Ullmann was nominated by BAFTA in the Best Actress category.

She was also named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the National Board of Review and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, with the film winning Best Foreign Language Film at the latter.

It also was named by the Golden Globes as their Best Foreign Language Film of the year, with Ullmann also being nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.

References in popular culture[edit]

At the beginning of the Woody Allen film Annie Hall, Allen's character refuses to see Face to Face after arriving a few minutes late for a showing. He instead takes Annie (Diane Keaton) to a screening of The Sorrow and the Pity.


  1. ^ "Face to Face (1976)". The Swedish Film Database. The Swedish Film Institute. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Face to Face". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (April 6, 1976). "Movie Review - Face to Face". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 6, 1976). "Face to Face Movie Review & Film Summary (1976)". Retrieved January 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]