Scenes from a Marriage is a poignant television miniseries about love, desire, passion, grief, betrayal, family, home, and separation. The story revolves around Jonathan (Oscar Isaac) and Mira (Jessica Chastain), an American married couple, and their complex and evolving relationship. As their marriage gradually deconstructs, Jonathan and Mira begin to express their frustration, aspirations, anger and regret. Scenes from a Marriage offers remarkable insight into human interaction and celebrates love by emphasizing its flaws. If this has made you wonder if the show is based on a true story, this is what you need to know.
Are Scenes From a Marriage based on a true story?
Indeed, Scenes From a Marriage is inspired by real events. The HBO series broadcast in France on Ocs is the American adaptation of the Swedish series of the same name from 1973 (or ‘Scener ur ett äktenskap’) directed by the great author Ingmar Bergman, who developed his show from his own experience. amorous and relational with several women in her life, including and especially the actress Liv Ullmann, the main female role of the series. Bergman would also have been inspired by the unstable relationship between his parents, Karin and Erik Bergman.
The 6-part miniseries was turned into a feature movie and was released in 1974. In 2003, Bergman released Sarabande, a TV movie that serves as a near-sequel to Scenes from a Marriage. Liv Ullmann and her co-star Erland Josephson reprise their respective roles as Marianne and Johan. Sarabande is also the last movie in Bergman’s illustrious career. According to Ullman, Marianne, her character in Scenes from a Marriage, is based on her. She explained that when they lived together, Bergman asked her to keep a journal for a week and give it to her afterward. She did this to make him happy. However, she only made inputs of her pleasant and positive thoughts and left out everything else.
According to her, when she gave him the diary, he kept it and used it for Scenes From a Marriage. But she apparently didn’t realize he was using her diary as a source because not everything she wrote there was necessarily true. But out of this well-intentioned deception, an inherently positive, independent, and humorous character like Marianne was born. As Ullman once said, the characters she portrayed in Bergman’s movies before and after Marianne were all “neurotic and dark.” For her, Marianne was the easiest character to play.
In an interview, Ullman dissociated her past relationship with Bergman from the violence described in “Scenes of a Marriage” from 1973. “Ingmar was not violent,” she said.
“He had a lot of stuff, I’m sure, but he wasn’t violent. I didn’t understand what it could look like until I saw the finished movie. The violence is going on inside you, and it’s awful, but there is no kicking or screaming.
Other sources claim that Bergman also used his failed marriages with translator and journalist Gun Grut and concert pianist Käbi Laretei as inspiration while developing Scenes From a Marriage. Bergman married Gun in 1951. But in 1952 he began having an affair with actress Harriet Andersson. In 1955, Berman got involved with Bibi Andersson. And that relationship lasted until 1959. That same year, he and Gun divorced. Bergman was married to Laretei for 10 years between 1959 and 1969. But their relationship all but ended when Ullman entered Berman’s life in 1965.
The HBO miniseries is not the first project that sought to pay homage to Bergman’s 1973 movie Scenes from Married Life. Woody Allen, a lifelong Bergman fan, has made several themed movies similar to Scenes from a Marriage, including Annie Hall and Maris et Femmes. According to actor Ethan Hawke and director Richard Linklater, they were aiming for the high standards that Scenes from a Marriage set with their movie Before Midnight. Another project that Bergman’s miniseries clearly influenced is Noah Baumbach’s, Marriage Story. Obviously, HBO’s Scenes from a Marriage is based on a true story and an American adaptation of one of the best works by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.