Scenes from a Marriage (1973) s01e04 Episode Script

The Vale of Tears

1 SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE Johan and Marianne have lived together happily for ten years.
They have settled conflicts on the best of terms, suppressing any hostility or menacing truths.
One evening, Johan turns up unexpectedly at the summer cottage where Marianne and the girls are staying.
He curtly tells his wife that he has fallen in love with another woman, Paula, and that they plan to leave for Paris the next morning and stay for at least eight months.
He claims to want a clean break with the past and is brutally honest in his approach.
Utterly unprepared for this, Marianne is devastated.
After a night of emotional upheaval, they pack Johan's bags.
When he is about to leave, Marianne starts to plead with him, but Johan leaves anyway.
After he has left, she calls a family friend and asks him to speak to Johan.
She finds out that several people in their circle knew all about Johan's affair with Paula.
This news comes as an additional shock.
THE VALE OF TEARS Please come in.
You look nice.
That's a pretty blouse.
You think so? I bought it a few weeks ago, but I'm afraid it's too girlish for me.
You look great.
Take your coat off.
Standing here in the hall makes me nervous.
I feel nervous too.
I haven't been able to get much done today.
It's silly, but it's been more than six months since I've seen you.
- How come you suddenly - Paula's in London for a week.
- Would you like a drink? - Yes, please.
I'd love a whiskey.
Straight.
It settles the stomach.
Calms you down.
- You like whiskey nowadays? - Yes, imagine that.
Cheers.
Aunt Berit's looking after the girls, to everyone's mutual delight.
They're going to the theater, and then to the country tomorrow.
That's convenient.
I mean, it might have been awkward seeing the kids.
- How are they doing? - Don't ask just to be polite.
But please don't forget their birthdays again.
I bought them presents from you, but they weren't fooled.
Couldn't you take them out to dinner or to the movies? It's awful the way you never get in touch with them.
- They hardly ever mention you anymore.
- That's understandable.
Can't Paula let you see us without starting a fight? If you're going to start with that, I'd better leave.
You've said yourself that she's insanely jealous.
What am I supposed to do? Are you such a coward that you can't stand up to her? Yes.
I'm sorry.
That's all right.
I know you find the situation absurd, but scolding won't do any good.
- Would you like some more whiskey? - Yes, please.
How are things, Johan? Pretty much as usual.
And you? I can't complain, I guess.
Could be worse.
It was silly of me to suggest this.
We can't seem to talk without hurting each other.
I have an excellent suggestion: Let's have dinner.
We're probably both starving and that's why we're so touchy.
That's an excellent suggestion.
You look funny in that haircut and you've put on some weight.
You really turn me on.
- What should we do about that? - We'll see after dinner.
Have a seat.
New china? I inherited it.
Sweet old Aunt Elsa died six months ago, and she left me a few things.
She thought I was so domestically inclined.
Most of the stuff is useless, but the china is nice.
I made stew, and there's cheese and wine for dessert.
I didn't have time to whip up anything fancy.
- But you usually like my cooking.
- It sure smells delicious.
Have you heard that Martin's getting married again? I ran into them in town, and they were so embarrassed about not having called me.
I almost felt sorry for them.
His new girlfriend is a bit dim, but rich.
I hear her father's company went bankrupt a while back.
So Martin's messed up again.
Isn't he one of your closest friends? Not exactly.
Why do you ask? You sounded so smug.
A wise man once said that the misfortune of a friend is not entirely unpleasant.
Cheers, Marianne.
- This wine is nice.
- It's nothing special.
Just an inexpensive claret, but it's good.
I don't mind telling you things are going pretty well for me.
I've been offered a chair at Cleveland University for three years.
Really? It's a great opportunity.
Both financially and career-wise.
That's where things are happening in my field.
And I'll be glad to emigrate.
There's nothing to keep me here.
I'm fed up with this academic backwater.
And I have no desire to go on being fleeced by the tax man.
So I'll be leaving this spring, if all goes well.
Congratulations.
And now for the unspoken question: "Are you taking Paula with you?" And the answer is no.
Call it running away, if you like.
I've had it.
Paula's been good for me.
She's taught me things about myself.
But there's a limit.
To be honest, I'm pretty tired of her.
I suppose you think it's disloyal of me to bad-mouth her.
But she forfeited my loyalty long ago.
I'm fed up with her.
Her emotional fits, her tirades and tears, followed by making up again and endearments.
I'll tell you this, Marianne.
The best thing about Paula was that she taught me how to fight.
Even hitting her wasn't out of bounds.
You wouldn't believe me if I told you everything.
Sometimes it was like some grotesque play in which I was both actor and audience.
Our fights would last for days on end until we collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
The food is terrific.
Here I am, going on about myself.
But I'm in such a good mood.
Then perhaps we could discuss our divorce? If you're going abroad, we might as well get the ball rolling.
- What do you think? - As you like.
I'd like us to file for divorce.
You never know.
I might want to remarry.
And things would be complicated if you're in the States.
You have someone in mind? Maybe I do.
Come on, tell me more.
It'll keep me from rattling on.
Would you like some more? No, thanks.
And stop being evasive.
How are things? Judging by your appearance and your attitude, they must be pretty good.
I'm curious.
Do you have a lover? I'll get the coffee.
You do want coffee, right? Yes, please.
You've rearranged the furniture.
Do you mind? Of course not.
I've moved into your study.
Where are my things? In storage.
I'm paying for it.
I decided I was entitled to a study, so I bought new furniture and put up new curtains.
I also put up my own pictures, the ones you never liked.
Was that tactless? Should I have waited until the divorce was final? Or observed a year of mourning? I also changed the phone listing.
It's in my name now.
- That's good.
- You sound bitter.
- No, you did the right thing.
- Thank you.
I was tired of working at the writing desk in the bedroom.
It was uncomfortable.
But in the old days, all that mattered was that you had a study.
Come take a look.
I've gotten rid of the double bed.
Why? I felt lost, all alone in such a big bed.
So this room has a more chaste air now.
Where do you keep your lover? For the time being, it's better for us to meet at his place.
- You mean because of the girls? - No, silly.
- They want me to remarry.
- I'll be damned.
- Would you like something to drink? - No, thanks.
This is a decent place to live in.
You live out of town, right? We live in a crowded concrete hutch on the tenth floor.
With a view of another concrete hutch.
Drunken 13-year-olds lurk in the downstairs entrance to mug people.
The building is falling apart, and it's so drafty that our curtains flutter.
For two weeks I had to fetch water from a hydrant, and the toilets didn't work.
People avoid the subway station after 8:00 p.
m.
And in the middle of the complex lies what some demented architect called the "piazza.
" I find it rather interesting.
It's the way I picture hell.
I didn't know you believed in hell.
Paula actually likes the place.
She says it fits in with her picture of the world.
It's familiar.
I don't really care where I live.
To me, every domicile is only temporary.
- Security must come from within.
- Does yours? I didn't feel that way as long as I lived here.
Material things were so important.
We became dependent on rituals.
I don't know what you mean.
Our sense of security was anchored in externals.
Our possessions, our cottage in the country, our friends, our incomes, our food, our parents, holidays.
I'll describe my take on security.
The way I see it loneliness is absolute.
Anything else is an illusion.
Never expect anything but trouble.
If something nice happens, all the better.
Just don't imagine you can do away with loneliness.
A sense of togetherness can be created in, say, religion, politics, love, art.
But loneliness is still all-encompassing.
The treacherous part is that every once in a while you're struck by an illusion of togetherness.
Just remember that it is an illusion.
That makes it easier when everything returns to normal.
You have to face the fact that loneliness reigns supreme.
It puts an end to your moaning.
Then you feel safe and secure.
And you learn to accept how pointless it all is with a certain satisfaction.
I don't mean you should be resigned.
You should carry on as best you can, if only because it's better to do your best than to give up.
I wish I were as certain as you.
It's all talk.
You find yourself expressing thoughts to fend off the emptiness inside.
It's funny, come to think of it.
Has it ever struck you that emptiness hurts? You'd think it would make you dizzy, or queasy in spirit.
But this void inside me is physically painful.
It stings like a burn.
Or like when you were little and you'd been crying, and the whole inside of your body ached.
At times, Paula's tremendous political commitment astonishes me.
She's so sincere, and so very involved within her group.
Her conviction answers her questions and fills the void inside her.
I wish I could live the way she does.
I really mean that, without any sarcasm.
Why are you sneering? Do you think I'm talking rubbish? So do I but who cares? I don't know what you're talking about.
It seems so theoretical.
I don't know why.
I rarely talk about such huge matters.
I guess I move on another plane.
A superior plane, I suppose? A special plane reserved for women with a privileged emotional life, and a happier, more down-to-earth approach to the mysteries of life.
Perhaps.
Paula gives herself airs like that.
Particularly when she's read the latest Women's Lib gospel.
Sounds like you're disappointed.
That's just your imagination.
You should know I think about you all the time.
Wondering if you're all right, or if you're afraid or lonely.
Every day, several times a day, I wonder what I did to cause the breach between us.
I know it's a childish way of thinking, but there you are.
What did I do wrong? Why not ask a psychiatrist? I see one several times a week.
Sometimes we meet in private.
Is he your lover? We did have sex a few times, but it was no good.
So we stopped that and devoted ourselves to my soul instead.
What have you learned? Nothing.
Basically, I'm learning to talk.
And I threw your things out of the study and moved mine in.
It left me feeling guilty, but awfully bold.
Well, it led to something, then.
What an enormous yawn.
Sorry.
It's the wine.
And I haven't slept well.
I've been so tense.
If you'd like to go, feel free.
Don't make a big deal out of it.
You can take a nap if you like.
I'll wake you in an hour.
So much fuss about a yawn.
I don't want to sleep.
I want to hear about your inner quest.
That's much more interesting, I promise you.
There's not much to tell.
Though something funny did strike me, but I haven't told my therapist yet.
That sounds exciting.
My therapist told me to jot down everything that pops into my head.
No matter how irrelevant.
Thoughts, memories, dreams.
I haven't written much so far.
I'm not used to writing.
It generally turns out stilted and kind of silly.
Why don't you read me what you wrote last night? I'd really like to hear it.
Would you really like to hear it? Are you sure? I'll just go get my notebook.
I wrote for hours on end, you know.
I was up until 3:00, so I looked like the dickens this morning.
It figures that would happen the night before I see you.
You look so pretty.
So terribly pretty, Marianne.
No compliments, please.
Take an interest in my soul instead.
Go sit down.
Go sit down.
Don't.
No.
Please.
Let me read to you instead.
One good thing needn't exclude the other.
I've been thinking about this all this time.
About having sex with you.
I've been longing for you.
But after you leave, I'd be left with my longing, and I don't want that.
Don't you realize I'm in love with you? Sometimes I hate you for what you did to me.
Sometimes I don't think of you for hours, and it's heaven.
I have everything I could want.
I have my friends, even lovers.
There's the kids and my job that I enjoy and am good at.
Yet I'm bound to you.
I don't know why.
Maybe I'm a masochist, or the kind of woman who can only ever love one man.
I don't know.
It's so hard, Johan.
I don't want to live with anyone but you.
Other men bore me.
I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, or blackmail you emotionally.
I'm just telling you how I feel.
That's why I can't bear you kissing me and making love to me.
I can't explain it any other way.
Because you'll walk away, and I'll be left longing for you.
I've sort of enjoyed having you at a distance.
So let's keep our hands to ourselves.
You'll just leave me devastated.
I'm still in love with you.
Why say that when it isn't true? Don't you think I've longed for you? I have.
We were good together.
We were friends.
We had fun.
If we feel like having sex, why shouldn't we? It only shows we still long for each other.
Why have all these reservations? Why worry about tomorrow? No, Johan.
Johan, I don't want to.
I want you to stop it! I don't want to pine and weep and long for you.
Please understand.
This is really how it is.
It's no good.
If you're going to persist, you might as well leave.
I don't want to sleep with you.
Please try to understand.
I'm trying to understand, but I can't.
Look, I'll just sit here.
I'll sit here and you can read to me.
Then I'll go home and call Paula and say I've been to the theater.
May I have some more coffee? I feel terribly foolish.
I just want to hide somewhere and cry.
Well if you like, I could leave now.
We could have dinner tomorrow.
Perhaps that would be better.
No, stay after all.
I'm busy tomorrow.
- Hi there.
- Hi.
I really, really like you.
And I'm acting like a child.
Everything's all right.
The situation's under control.
We've pulled through the crisis.
I can barely read my own writing.
The beginning isn't important.
"Yesterday I was seized by a reckless gaiety.
For the first time this year, I felt a zest for life, eager to know what the day might bring.
" And so on.
Right.
Here it is.
"Suddenly I turned and looked at an old school picture from back when I was 10.
I seemed to detect something that had eluded me up to then.
To my surprise I must admit that I don't know who I am.
I haven't the vaguest idea.
I've always done as I was told.
As far as I can remember I've been obedient, well-adjusted, almost meek.
I did assert myself once or twice as a girl, but Mother punished any lapses from convention with exemplary severity.
My entire upbringing, and that of my sisters, was aimed at making us agreeable.
I was ugly and awkward, a fact I was constantly reminded of.
I later realized that if I kept my thoughts to myself and was ingratiating and predictable, my behavior yielded rewards.
The most momentous deception began at puberty.
All my thoughts, feelings and actions revolved around sex.
But this I never told my parents.
Or anyone at all, for that matter.
Being deceitful and secretive became second nature to me.
My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer.
I dropped hints that I wanted to be an actress, or do something else in the world of theater.
But they laughed at me.
Since then I go on pretending, faking my relationships with others, with men, always putting on an act in a desperate attempt to please.
I've never considered what I want, but only, 'What does he want me to want?' It's not unselfishness, as I used to believe.
It's sheer cowardice.
Even worse, it stems from my being ignorant of who I am.
I've never led a dramatic life.
I have no gift for that sort of thing.
But for the first time I feel excited by the prospect of finding out exactly what I want to do in life.
In the snug world Johan and I lived in, taking everything for granted, there is an implied cruelty and brutality that frightens me more and more when I think back on it.
The trappings of security come at a high price: the constant erosion of your personality.
It's so easy right at the outset to thwart a small child's cautious attempts to assert itself.
In my case, it was performed with injections of a poison that is 100% effective.
Guilt.
At first, it was directed towards my mother.
Later, towards others.
And finally, towards Jesus and God.
In a flash I see what kind of person I would have been had I never allowed myself to be brainwashed.
And I wonder whether I'm hopelessly lost, whether the potential for joy that was innate in me is dead, or whether it merely lies dormant and can be awakened.
I wonder what kind of wife and woman I would have become if I'd been able to use my resources as they were intended.
Would Johan and I ever have gotten married in that case? I'm sure we would have, because if I analyze it honestly, we were genuinely in love in a devoted and passionate way.
Our mistake was that we never broke free from our families to create something worthwhile on our own terms.
" You weren't going to call me tonight.
You have no reason to be jealous, I assure you.
What? I sound funny? No, I just don't want to wake Johan.
No, he's sitting.
Sitting in the living room, sleeping like a little child.
My conversation bored him.
No, you shouldn't come over.
Don't be silly, David.
We can have dinner and see a movie tomorrow.
Doesn't that sound good? Call me tomorrow morning as usual.
Of course I sound strange.
I can't very well coo sweet nothings.
Johan might be awake.
Precisely.
I'll go wake my beau and send him packing.
You can call me back in an hour.
Isn't that a fine idea? Bye for now.
No, he hasn't even tried to kiss me.
I promise, the evening was hardly passionate.
Oh, darn, I fell asleep.
And your words were so interesting too.
Forgive me.
Could you go on? That is, if I haven't offended you? I think you should go home and get some sleep.
I'm not offended.
Really.
Yeah, I guess I should go.
Please keep in touch, if only for the children's sake.
Of course.
You're always welcome here.
If only Paula wasn't so jealous.
But I guess she feels justified.
It's hard on her too.
When will you know about the US? In a month or so.
Let me know how it goes.
I'll call or write.
We need to decide about the divorce.
- Do you want to marry again? - I don't know.
I'd rather wait.
What do you think? I'm not sure what I think.
You will stay tonight, won't you? Yes, I'll stay.
How do you feel? Frightened.
How about mustering up some courage? Some courage? You know we don't have to have sex.
We could just hold hands.
- And sleep.
- It's nice being close to you.
I've got your favorite pajamas in there.
You're very pretty.
I'm fat.
No one could tell you've had two kids.
Don't look at me.
It makes me self-conscious.
Hi there.
Never mind the phone.
It's not important.
It might be your lover.
What could he want at this hour? - Does he know I'm here? - Sure.
Damn, he's persistent.
I better pick up.
Hello.
I can't talk right now.
Yes, Johan is still here.
We've gone to bed, if you really want to know.
So I can imagine.
What do you expect me to say? Yes, I'm sorry, it's true.
I don't know.
I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me again.
Ever again.
Try to behave like an adult, for once.
Yes, it is a shame, but I really don't want to talk right now.
So long, David.
Take care.
Your lover, I gather.
My former lover.
You didn't have to say I was here.
Maybe I should have invited him to join us? Are you in love with him? Sometimes you ask such goddamn silly questions.
Sorry.
Shall we talk about my love life? Are you angry with me? I'm not angry, but I'm on the verge of tears.
The trouble with me is that I can't get angry.
I wish that for once in my life I could really lose my temper, as I sometimes feel I have every right to.
I think it would change my life.
But that's not the point.
You spoke earlier about loneliness.
That bit about being strong on your own.
I don't believe in your gospel of isolation.
I think it's a sign of weakness.
What's wrong, Marianne? It's so humiliating.
What's humiliating? I think about you and I think about myself and about the future.
I can't see how you're going to cope without me.
Sometimes I think in desperation, "I must look after Johan.
He's my responsibility.
It's up to me to make sure he's all right.
That's the only way my life will be worthwhile.
" I don't believe people are strong all on their own.
You have to have someone's hand to hold.
Johan.
I think we're making a mistake.
We ought to work on our relationship.
Our relationship is our greatest opportunity here in life.
We're wasting our chance.
You can't go away for several years without me.
You won't make it.
You'll be so frightened and unsure of yourself without me.
Forgive me for crying.
I don't mean to.
What is it? Can't you sleep? Not a chance.
I feel miserable.
I'd better go home.
Forgive me.
- That's Paula's handwriting.
- She wrote to me.
- What's she up to now? - She sent this before she left.
You should read it.
Read it here.
"Dear Marianne, I suspect you're surprised to get a letter from me.
I assure you there's no ulterior motive behind this letter.
I took this job in London to get away for a week and thereby break a vicious cycle of jealousy and suspicion.
I know Johan will contact you the minute I've gone.
I only have myself to blame, as I've kept him from seeing you and the children.
If only it were possible to put things right.
" Isn't that typical of Paula.
She wants us to be friends.
She can't stand this hostility.
How touching particularly the fact that you believe her.
"Johan is the gentlest, kindest, most affectionate person I've ever met.
He has no self-confidence at all, though he tries to put up a brave and cheerful front.
" You can say anything about anyone.
It always fits in some respect.
This was the fourth episode of Scenes From A Marriage.
It was called "The Vale Of Tears.
" And while you look at this footage from FÃ¥rÃ, I'll give you the credits.
Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson were the actors.
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.