Scenes From a Marriage


This plot summary is for the 281-minute[1] TV miniseries version of the work (the feature film retains the episode names as chapter titles). Each episode concludes with long, quiet, comforting shots of Fårö landscapes, as a "relief" from the up-close, tense and claustrophobic episodes. Each episode is structured around one critical scene, described below, with the rest of the episode dedicated to discussion and aftereffects. Some of the episodes occur months or years apart.

# Title
1 "Innocence and Panic"
The story begins around Marianne's and Johan's 10th anniversary, when a reporter for a women's magazine interviews them. Peter and Katarina visit later for dinner, and cruelly humiliate one another.
2 "The Art of Sweeping Things Under the Rug"
Marianne tries to withdraw from a Sunday dinner with her parents but fails and realizes how difficult it is for her to let down other people's expectations. Johan flirts with another woman at work.
3 "Paula"
The couple retreat to their country house. Johan informs Marianne that he wants separation, and is leaving for Paris the next day with his lover, Paula.
4 "The Vale of Tears"
Johan is disillusioned with Paula and revisits Marianne. They discuss their current lives, and Johan attempts to initiate sex, but Marianne is unwilling. He attempts to spend the night, but cannot sleep and leaves.
5 "The Illiterates"
Marianne and Johan meet at his office to sign divorce papers, but Johan refuses. The two fight savagely. Johan declares that they are emotional illiterates. They sign the papers.
6 "In the Middle of the Night in a Dark House Somewhere in the World"
Marianne and Johan have married other people, but are unhappy. Having met coincidentally in a theatre some time earlier, they have begun secretly seeing each other again. On the 20th anniversary of their wedding, they decide to spend time together at their country house. Finding that too strange, they go to a friend's country house instead. There they discuss how much they have changed, with Marianne more self-conscious and Johan accepting his real abilities. When Marianne awakes panicking from a nightmare, Johan comforts her.

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