Autumn Sonata

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Autumn Sonata
US theatrical poster
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Ingrid Bergman
Liv Ullmann
Lena Nyman
Halvar Björk
Music by Frédéric Chopin
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
ITC Entertainment
Distributed by New World Pictures (US)
Release date(s) 8 October 1978 (1978-10-08) (Sweden)
Running time 99 minutes
Country West Germany
Language Swedish

Autumn Sonata (Swedish: Höstsonaten, German: Herbstsonate) is a 1978 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann and Lena Nyman. It tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter. It was Ingrid Bergman's last performance in a major theatrical feature film, and the film won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1979 Golden Globe Awards.


The plot focuses on a prominent concert pianist, Charlotte Andergast (Ingrid Bergman), who has been neglectful and dismissive of her children, whom she has not seen in over seven years. Charlotte decides to make a visit to her eldest daughter, Eva (Liv Ullmann) at her remote house, where she lives with her husband, Viktor (Halvar Björk). Upon arrival, Charlotte discovers that her other daughter, Helena (Lena Nyman), who is severely disabled and was placed in an institution by Charlotte, is living with and being taken care of by Eva. Wounded by the neglect and selfishness of her mother, Eva begins to spill all of the things she has ever wanted to say to Charlotte, and as the evening progresses, the tension culminates in a wave of harsh words and exposure of true feelings.


Due to his battle with the Swedish tax authorities at the time, Ingmar Bergman produced Autumn Sonata through his West German company, Personafilm GmbH, with main financing from Lew Grade's British ITC Film, and shot the film in an old film studio outside Oslo in Norway.[1] Although formally a German production (with the German title, Herbstsonate, being the official original title), the dialogue is in Swedish, most of the crew and actors were Swedish,[2] and the world premiere was in Stockholm.[3]



Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata.

The film was shot in Norway because of Ingmar Bergman's tax problems with the government of Sweden.[4]


The piano piece played in the film is Chopin's Prelude No. 2 in A minor.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film won the 1979 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Ingrid Bergman) and Best Original Screenplay.

Remakes and stage adaptations[edit]

  • Tehzeeb (2003) is a Hindi film based on Autumn Sonata.
  • In September 2008 a theatrical version entitled Sonata de otoño was performed in Madrid.
  • In April 2011, a new theatrical adaptation of Autumn Sonata, based on Bergman's original screeplay, had its World Premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT, directed by Robert Woodruff.


External links[edit]