An aging man mulls over life memories at an abandoned Swedish beach with the threat—or promise—of washing them all way. A woman emerges into his reflections; part memory, part muse, or maybe just the girl next door. At his urging, she reveals a story of marital infidelity between three adults and a child nearly pulled apart by the mounting violence of it all.
Director Liv Ullman brings Faithless to the screen with exceeding faithfulness to her longtime collaborator, Ingmar Bergman. The renowned filmmaker wrote the script, and placed himself in it as old Bergman (Erland Josephson) and his younger counterpart, David (Krister Henriksson). David is less handsome, stable, and successful than his good friend Markus (Thomas Hanzon). Marianne (played with accomplishment by Lena Endre) engages an adulterous relationship with him anyway. The film's initial slowness builds into a powerful rumination on Big Issues of love, faith, and irrevocable emotional damage.
Faithless is a mature film, neatly spare in its absence of mainstream selling points. A must for Bergman fans, it is recommendable for anybody prepared for a chilling season in sun-deprived Swedish film. Faithless believes in classic arthouse cinema.