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The Wikileaks Guy and Stieg Larsson--Whatever Happened to Ingmar Bergman?
Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman

 

Now Julian Assange, rightfully or wrongfully, may be headed back to Sweden on rape charges.  And Stieg Larsson's trilogy emphasizes violence against women, specifically in Sweden, as its central theme.  How could this grow out of the country that produced Ingmar Bergman?  Didn't he teach us, working with Liv Ullman through scene after scene from a marriage, that the thing women can give men, the thing that makes us suddenly unalone, can't be taken?

To quote from my own novel, Good with People, the narrator is undone by a woman's lovemaking because "[She] went beyond generosity-she demanded her own pleasure, subordinating my body as a means to that end.  She didn't look past my lust; she shared it, soothing a loneliness I didn't even know I had."  One can't gain that through force.

Here's some dialog from Scenes from a Marriage:

Marianne: Sometimes you ask such goddamn silly questions.
Johan: Sorry. Are you angry with me?
Marianne: 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.
Johan: What's wrong, Marianne?
Marianne: It's so... humbling.
Johan: What's humbling?
Marianne: 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 our lives will be worthwhile."
Marianne: I don't believe people are strong all on their own. You have to have someone's hand to hold.