Scenes from a Marriage (1973) s01e02 Episode Script

The Art of Sweeping Things Under the Rug

1 SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE Johan and Marianne have been happily married for ten years.
Johan is an associate professor, and Marianne is a lawyer specializing in family law.
They lead a comfortable life with their two daughters.
One day they have Peter and Katarina over for dinner.
After dinner, their guests start to quarrel dramatically.
Their conflict lies in emotional and material ties, and they struggle violently to break free from each other.
Their loyal friends do their best to mediate between them.
A few weeks later, Marianne discovers she's pregnant.
Johan takes the news calmly, but without enthusiasm.
After deliberation, they decide that Marianne will have an abortion.
They try to play down the issue, but Marianne experiences unexpected qualms.
Good morning.
- Did you sleep well? - Like a log.
How about you? Fine.
Only I woke up at 5:00 and couldn't go back to sleep.
Why is that? I was irritated.
Should I feel guilty? For once you're innocent, my dear.
The thought of Sunday dinner with the folks had me steaming.
We always have Sunday dinner at your parents' place or mine.
- And that's insane.
- We do it to please them.
Well, I'm going to cancel.
You're going to cancel? What will your mother say? She can say whatever she likes.
I want to spend the day with you and the kids.
Well, if you can pull it off I certainly can.
The more I think about it, the madder I get.
- Is your period coming up? - Why do you always say that? Well, isn't it? All right, my period's due on Monday, but that's not why I'm annoyed.
What's bothering you? Just think about it.
Every last second of our time is accounted for and booked solid.
We have our vacations.
Don't you understand? Our vacations are even more tightly scheduled.
Aren't you going to wake the girls? They're sleeping in today.
Karin has the day off, and Eva has a sore throat.
I want her to be well by Sunday, to avoid all the snide remarks.
Weren't you going to cancel dinner? I want you to do it.
I don't want to lock horns with your mother.
Well, aren't you going to call your mother? Didn't we agree you would do it? No, honey.
I'll hold your hand and provide moral support.
All right, I'll do it.
My heart is racing.
The first baby steps in the great revolt.
Aren't they in? What a relief.
Miss Alm, is my mother in? May I speak to her? How is your knee, Miss Alm? Oh, it isn't any better, then? It's worse? Now, that's too bad.
What does the doctor say? He's not very understanding.
I see.
Hello, Mother.
How are you? Good.
Dad's already gone? That's right, he was going out to the country.
You let him go off on his own like that? Oh, Erik went with him.
That's nice.
Listen, I have something to tell you.
That's right.
How did you guess? Why? I'd like to spend Sunday with Johan and the girls.
No, we're not going anywhere.
We just don't feel like coming over for dinner, that's all.
I don't believe for one second that Dad's been looking forward to it.
Really, Mother, it should be a pleasure and not a duty.
I see.
I see.
You hadn't told me that.
To be honest, not entirely thrilled.
No, forget it, Mother.
We'll show up, like we said we would.
That'll be just fine.
Yes, we're looking forward to it.
Bye-bye, Mother dear.
The revolution was smothered at birth.
Aunt Elsa is coming to town.
She hasn't visited in six months.
She was looking forward to seeing us, and she has a gift for you.
And Mrs.
Danielsson was coming over to cook.
And your dad was so looking forward to seeing us.
I still think you were brave to try.
We'll cancel another time.
Don't be upset.
Will you be home for dinner? I'll meet you at the theater at 7:20.
Don't you like coming home anymore? Things are certainly complicated today, aren't they? I wish we could spend a whole week in bed just cuddling.
And both of us could cry.
That's not the life we chose to lead.
I wish I could be certain our mothers didn't do the choosing.
You suffer from a maternal persecution complex.
Is this the life you wanted? Yes.
What if we started cheating on each other? Marianne, please.
What would you do? Kill you, of course.
- Sometimes I wish - What? Nothing.
Wait a second.
I'll go with you.
Wouldn't it be better if you took your own car? No, this way we can drive home from the theater together.
- What about the girls? - Mrs.
Andersson is coming today.
I'll call her from town and ask if she can cook something.
She makes great pancakes.
I'll go wake the girls.
- I'm in a hurry.
- It'll only take a minute.
I like riding with you in the morning.
We should do it more often.
Did this put you in a bad mood? I don't like winging it.
But I do.
Sometimes I wish that I could go with the flow.
Eat when I'm hungry, sleep when I'm tired, and have sex when I'm in love.
Maybe even work a little, if I felt like it.
Sometimes I long to simply float along, and maybe even sink.
- Who doesn't? - You.
You don't.
What would you know about that? I know you pretty well by now.
You're too well-adjusted.
You like things to be tidy.
So do you.
Do I? You're a perfectionist.
Really? You detest disorder in mind and body.
Really? I see.
That's a fact.
I'm not so certain.
Of what? I'm not certain I know who I am.
Oh, by the way, please pay your parking tickets.
There's a whole stack of them.
Yes, sir.
See you at the theater.
Yes, it's me.
Oh, hi, Mother.
The line's so bad, I didn't recognize your voice.
I'm fine, thank you.
How are you? You're concerned? Now why is that? Marianne's mother called and she's concerned too? Good grief.
No, Marianne and I are getting along fine.
We're healthy, cheerful and insanely happy.
Nothing's wrong, I swear.
Don't worry.
Your intuition? Well, it's led you astray.
Marianne and I are happy together.
Tell Marianne's mother she should do something more constructive than gossip about worst-case scenarios.
I'm pretty busy right now, Mother.
I'll see you soon.
We'll stop by on Friday, just like we promised.
Give my best to Dad.
Am I disturbing you? Please do.
I just had to see what you're up to.
There are so many rumors floating around.
What are you doing? This does look mysterious.
- Shouldn't you be in Lund? - Yes.
But the students are demonstrating for some deserving cause or another, and the lectures were canceled.
Lucky you.
- What's this going to be? - Take a look.
- What am I supposed to do? - Hold this pen.
When I turn off the lights, you'll see a bright dot on the wall.
Try to touch it with the tip of the pen.
If you miss, draw a line to it.
We'll get it all on camera.
- But it's dark.
- We're using infrared lighting.
I'll watch you on the monitor.
Lights out.
Be my guest.
Go ahead.
Are you pulling my leg? Not at all.
Go on.
Could you It keeps moving.
It's not a trick.
Actually, the dot is stationary.
I've had enough of this! Turn the lights back on.
My, you're upset.
That was unpleasant.
Yes, it makes you nervous.
Funny, isn't it? Look how you drifted, getting more and more irritated by the minute.
So what does it prove? That remains to be seen.
This is only the beginning.
- I'd like a cigarette.
- Go ahead.
Have a seat.
No! I gave up smoking six days ago, and it's a pain! Having withdrawal symptoms? Stefan's away and my friends are avoiding me.
I'll go back to it, but I'll try to stick to my guns a while.
Go on, take a cigarette.
Bromeus left a pack behind when he spied on me yesterday.
Oh, that's heaven.
What a relief.
- That's much better.
- But your conscience will suffer.
You have to choose your vices with care.
Well? Right.
I spent the entire afternoon yesterday reading your poems.
Very carefully, from start to finish.
- They baffled me.
- Were they so very strange? That's not it.
They weren't strange? Well, I might be wrong.
Has Marianne read them? No, you're the only one I've shown them to.
Marianne's not interested in poetry.
- She ought to be interested in you.
- She is, but not in that respect.
She's not? Really? What's so odd about that? You and I have been friends since we were students.
We've never been sexually involved.
You can provide an objective opinion before I try the publishers.
I wouldn't bother.
Are they that bad? No, it's not that they're bad.
If only that were the case.
They're mediocre, is that it? Insipid, proper and puerile? They're too personal, like indulging in spiritual masturbation? In our old crowd, many believed you were destined for greatness.
We admired you.
You were way ahead of us.
We admired and even envied you.
What's that got to do with my poetry? Nothing.
It was just a thought.
I guess the withdrawal symptoms colored your view.
You appear stressed.
That's possible.
I'm going to show them to others before I scrap them.
Of course you should.
The publishing houses will have to tell me how bad they are.
I've offended you.
You sure have.
I'm sorry.
At least there's one person who appreciates them.
- Who would that be? - Are you curious? My dear little Johan.
Pay no attention to me.
- It was just my craving talking.
- Right.
Well, I've got to go.
I'll leave your poems at the door.
Give my love to Marianne.
You know I'll always be there for you.
That's nice of you.
I'll see you around 12:30, then.
I'm sorry to have kept you waiting.
In this first meeting we usually establish the issues and look at how to solve them.
I want a divorce.
How long have you been married? Over 20 years.
Do you have a profession? No, I'm a housewife.
Why do you want a divorce? There's no love in our marriage.
Is that the reason? Yes.
You've been married for a long time.
Was this always the case? Yes, always.
And now that your children have left the nest, you want to leave as well.
My husband is a responsible man.
He's kind and conscientious.
I have nothing to complain about.
He's been an excellent father.
We've never quarreled.
We have a nice apartment and a lovely summer cottage we inherited from my mother-in-law.
We're both fond of music.
We belong to a chamber music society and play together.
It all sounds ideal.
Yes, it does.
But there is no love between us.
There never has been any.
Forgive me for asking, but have you met someone? No, I haven't.
What about your husband? As far as I know, he's never been unfaithful.
Won't you be lonely? I guess.
But it's even lonelier living in a loveless marriage.
Have you told your husband you want a divorce? Of course.
Fifteen years ago I told him I didn't want to live with him anymore, since there was no love in our marriage.
He was very understanding.
He merely asked me to wait until the children had grown up.
Now all three have grown up and left home.
Now I can have my divorce.
So what does he say? He keeps asking me what's wrong with our marriage.
And I tell him I can't go on with a relationship that lacks love.
Then he asks me what love is supposed to involve.
But I tell him I don't know.
How can I describe something that's not there? Have you been on good terms with your children? Emotionally.
I've never loved my children.
I know that now.
I used to think I did.
You always do.
But I know now that I never loved them.
Still, I've been a good mother.
I've done all I could, even though I never felt anything for them.
I know just what you're thinking.
Really? "A spoiled woman with no sense of humor.
She has everything she could possibly want but still she goes on about love.
What about friendship, loyalty, security?" Something like that, yes.
Let me tell you something.
I have a mental picture of myself that doesn't correspond to reality.
Pardon me if I ask you a personal question.
Isn't it true that love What were you going to ask? I'm not sure.
Forgive me.
I tell myself I have the capacity to love.
But it's been bottled up.
The life I've led has stifled my potential.
The time has come to change all that.
The first step is divorce.
My husband and I cancel each other out.
That sounds frightening.
It is frightening.
Something peculiar is happening.
My senses sight, hearing, touch are starting to fail me.
This table, for instance.
I can see it and touch it.
But the sensation is deadened and dry.
Do you understand? I think I do.
It's the same with everything.
Music, scents, faces, voices.
Everything seems puny, gray and undignified.
I picked up a bunch of brochures.
I figured we could take a trip abroad.
Aren't we going to be at the cottage? We have the spring and the fall.
- Where did you think of going? - I have no idea.
We've never been to Florence.
Or how about the Black Sea? And there are some amazingly cheap trips to Africa.
Or Japan.
We could see Japan.
Why this sudden urge to travel? Don't you think it would be fun? I don't know.
Well, then, that's that.
Are you disappointed? When you're in a bad mood, you make the strangest accusations.
You claim I don't care about our marriage.
Isn't that what you say? - Well, I'm trying to show I care.
- How thoughtful of you.
- Why so sarcastic? - I mean it.
I'm just not keen on traipsing around the world in the blistering heat.
- Not when I could be fishing.
- Then everything will be the same as usual.
Could life be so treacherous that it could go wrong just like that? Almost imperceptibly? Do you mean us? Is it a matter of making the wrong choice? Or do we jog along in the same rut without thinking until we end up on the garbage heap? Has something happened, Johan? Nothing.
I swear.
We're honest with each other, aren't we? I think so.
It's not good to bottle things up.
No matter how silly it is, it's better to get it off your chest.
Of course it is.
What time is it? - 1:15.
- My watch keeps on stopping.
Where were we? Oh, yes.
- I suppose you mean about sex? - Sometimes I think You can't expect constant intimacy.
It would be too tiring.
Yes, that's the big question.
I'm so very fond of you.
Do you know that? I'm so scared of losing you.
I don't say nice things often enough, even though I know they mean a lot.
I'm not very talented in that department, but I'll try to improve.
You're so sweet.
And I'm very, very fond of you.
I'll try to remember that.
But right now I have to go.
I'm going for a walk.
Karin needs some new slacks.
- You bought her a pair last week.
- Those were for Eva.
Can't Karin wear hand-me-downs? That's just not done nowadays.
Now for some food and drink.
And to get out of these clothes.
Getting through Ibsen on nothing but a hot dog was an ordeal.
Nora was good.
But the play is damned dated.
- Even Strindberg thought so.
- Out of envy.
Things have changed in a hundred years, though not in the way Ibsen expected.
Like what? Feminism is a tired subject.
Women nowadays can do whatever they want.
- Only they can't be bothered.
- Oh, that's interesting.
There's something pathetic about women's libbers, especially when they're trying to galvanize their sisters, that provincial, moronic mob of deluded females.
Just you wait and see.
I'll never see anything.
These two women at work have shared the same cubicle for ages, but they still address each other as Miss Schoultz and Mrs.
Palmgren, and each seizes every opportunity to sabotage or bad-mouth the other.
What a convincing argument.
Have you ever heard of a female symphony orchestra? Picture 110 women with menstrual problems trying to play Rossini's overture to The Thieving Magpie.
Lucky no one can hear you.
Women are crazy.
Just picture a carcass of a man, a rotten drunkard, fit for the grave.
Wonderful women will hover over this wreck of a man like big white birds.
His carcass stinks, he abuses them, but it makes no difference.
It's a combination of greedily sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks, and an air of martyrdom.
Some silly champion of women's rights, a progressive bishop, claimed that women have been tyrannized for so long that they accept being degraded.
Now, that was extremely stupid.
Women snagged the best bit: the role of the martyr.
Now that they play it to perfection, they're not about to give it up.
They've achieved their objective the collective guilt of men which provides them with certain favors.
- Would you like a blanket? - Yes.
Did you order heating oil? Females in public office would be forced to share responsibilities.
They would lose their comfortable role as the underdog and have to give up their pet vices rearing children and being oppressed.
What moving words.
I once heard this lady say, "But don't we women have an aptitude for tenderness?" I was too polite to laugh, but I wanted to ask her, "Don't you women have an aptitude for cruelty, vulgarity and ruthlessness?" By the way, I don't mean a word of this.
Remember when our parents almost threw us out because we joined the May Day parade? You were more zealous about politics.
And you accused me of neglecting our home.
That was the year we came down with the Asian flu.
We thought the future was bright.
It's nice to have faith in things.
And we had the pleasure of annoying our parents at the same time.
You were such a hothead back then.
Not as bad as your dad.
No, you were worse.
Pretty and hotheaded.
You were awfully attractive as a socialist.
- Aren't I now? - What? - Awfully attractive? - Of course.
But married couples aren't as hot for each other after a while.
That's not true in our case though.
We're just too busy.
When evening rolls around, we're exhausted.
That wasn't meant as a reproach.
I swear.
We like each other in every way.
Not in that way.
Not very much, anyway.
Oh, yes, we do.
Our life is full of little evasions and restrictions.
I can't help the fact I don't enjoy it as much as I used to.
There's a perfectly natural explanation.
Don't lay this guilt on me.
Don't get so upset.
I think we have it nice.
Things are not as passionate as they once were, but we could be worse off.
Without a doubt.
Sex isn't everything, after all.
If you're not satisfied, go find yourself a mistress who's more imaginative and exciting.
I do my best, I assure you.
There we have it.
- You've got that look again.
- I haven't got any look.
That look and that tone of voice.
Instead of brooding, just spit it out.
You'll just lose your temper.
No, I'm listening with an open mind.
Sometimes I wonder why we complicate this problem so awfully.
Making love is pretty basic.
It shouldn't be a huge, overshadowing issue.
It's your mother's fault, if you ask me, though you don't like my saying so.
- What a superficial analysis.
- Don't be a sourpuss.
I'm being nice.
You think it's my fault we don't enjoy it anymore.
- You just said you do your best.
- I really do.
Can't you hear how preposterous that sounds? Are you calling me a liar? No, for Christ's sake.
Then I don't understand.
Let's drop this and go to bed.
It's late.
It's just like you to start a discussion to get me all riled up only to yawn and say it's bedtime.
You suffer from devastatingly high standards.
We've often joked and argued about it.
But can't our poor sex life be spared your ambitions? Why won't you cut me some slack? First you attack me for not trying and then for making the effort.
What a mess I've made.
Yes, you sure have.
It would be more helpful if you were kind.
There, there, sweetheart.
I shouldn't have brought it up.
It's possible to talk too much about these things, you know.
Yes, it is.
I know you should discuss everything and not keep secrets.
But in this case I think it's wrong.
I think you're right.
Some matters should be protected from prying eyes.
You think so? I'm sure of it.
We hurt each other for no reason, and the barbs are still there when we go to bed.
It's like lying on a bed of nails.
- What are you laughing at? - The bed of nails bit.
- Go on and laugh, then.
- Let's go to bed.
Only if you admit that you've been tactless.
I apologize.
Don't I give you enough affection? Affection takes time.
Then you don't get enough.
We don't get enough.
Or give enough.
That's why I wanted us to go away this summer.
Affection shouldn't be kept just for vacations.
You're nice for a moron.
It's lucky I'm married to you, then.
You have moments of greatness, interspersed with sheer mediocrity.
I'm sure that's true.
At our age, tens of thousands of brain cells burn out every day, and they're never replaced.
Well, a fool like you must lose a million a day.
You're adorable, even if you do scold and fuss.
I'm nearly asleep anyway.
I'll just go check on the children.
Don't worry.
I'm practically asleep.
- Aren't you going to set the alarm? - I've got it in my hand.
If you like, you can make love to me.
Thanks for the offer, but I'm too tired.
Good night.
This was the second episode of Scenes From A Marriage called "The Art of Sweeping Things Under the Rug.
" While you look at this footage of FÃ¥rÃ, here are the credits.
The actors, Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson and Gunnel Lindblom.
Sven Nyqvist and his assistant Lars Karlsson manned the cameras.
Wardrobe, Inger Pehrsson.
Props, Gunilla Hagberg.
Makeup supervisor, Cecilia Drott.
Audio and mix, Owe Svensson and his assistant Arne Carlsson.
Editing, Siv Lundgren.
Script supervisor, Ulla Stattin.
Other contributors were Anders Bergkvist, Stefan Gustafsson, Lars Hagberg, Adolf KarlstrÃm, Kent NystrÃm, Bo-Erik Olsson and Siri Werkelin.
Lars-Owe Carlberg was the production supervisor, and the lab was Film Teknik.
Nils Melander designed the lighting effects on Eastman Color film.
The series was produced on Fårà by Cinematograph.
The year is 1973.