War unites and divides both on and off the battlefield. With Bergman, the focus is off. Which of course is another form of on. Childless Jan and Eva Rosenberg (Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman) live tranquilly but not at peace on an island when civil strife rolls in from the unnamed mainland. There are jets and troops and rebels. The Rosenbergs are suddenly victims of someone else’s botched plan.
They help, but the help is misread as collaboration. A price is exacted. Eva is compromised. Jan, a calm, indecisive man, must take action. But what to do when the forces are arrayed against you are bigger than will? That’s the Bergman question, and the Bergman answer seeks refuge in refuge. But there’s none there. War may only deepen human kind’s whiter shade of pale, but does so sickeningly. Von Sydow and Ullman are impressive as always.