Of course, we are talking here about blue eyes not in a decorative (romantic) and not in a factual (prosaic) sense, but how some religious believers or people with unconscious superstitious needs can be prone to feel even without the blue eyes but through other symbols of megalomaniacal sensitivity – this imaginary support of the frightened and exhausted human ego and the impoverished human identity.


Anna, the main character in Bergman’s “The Passion of Anna” is an irresistible human being when she is deploying her passionate appeal to those who are listening to her. When she is in this situation her suffering and her persuasive power become the one, and people cannot resist her truthfulness. She becomes a preacher of the human heart itself, defender of the human soul. She becomes the personification of… goodness itself, savior of the universal wisdom.


But then Anna (Liv Ullmann) often feels that something stands between her bottomless sincerity and the perception of her conviction by another person, that what is perceived is somehow not identical with her aspiration. Then anxiety inside her is awakening and growing together with her disappointment – her facial expression becomes exactly as we see in this shot – it starts to communicate her suspicion, her doubt in the sincerity or even good intention on the part of her interlocutor.


If Anna feels that her sincerity and suffering are not wholeheartedly embraced – that another person is skeptical about her noble efforts to enlighten him/her (even when nothing negative or critical was expressed), she tends to start to see in another human being a predatory monster from the hell.


In short, Anna’s reaction on human topics of human morality and responsibility can easily collapse into her full blown depression with paranoid impulses. And her heavenly eyes would express a cosmic human grief and frustration.

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Do you know that the Soviet Union (now post-heroically dead) and USA (pompously and proudly alive) have blue eyes or some other attributes people use to believe in as supernatural qualities of themselves, some others or inanimate constructions they idolize and look at with awe? Blue eyes can be the carrier of the sky which by itself is the lucky offspring of the heaven. Blue eyes for some can be the path to the depth of the soul, to the essence of being, even when this depth is above us. In short, blue eyes are the symbolic indicator of a connection with an aggrandized reality rooted in human religious aspirations, simply speaking with beliefs rooted in people’s megalomaniacal pretentions. Not blue eyes as such, of course, but what it can mean in people’s unconscious perception.

The people’s perception of their countries can be blue-eyed. Jingoism is blue-eyed or the very worship of political or military leaders. It has happened, when people believe that their country is exceptional – superior to all other countries. Very often patriotism transformed into “flagriotism” – the human tendency to aggrandize one’s country in a bragging way. It happened in the Soviet Union with its military parades, Nazi Germany with its militarist theatrics and USA under Trump, when any criticism of him and our country is viewed as treasonous (instead of being understood for what it often is – care about democracy, an existentially-spiritual attempt to help our country by improving our efforts and ways).

But let’s return to Ingmar Bergman’s film, where the person named Anna (Liv Ullmann) with heavenly eyes is not conscious about her megalomaniacal tendencies and likes to secularly preach “pop-goodness and pop-kindness” offering herself as an example of supreme moral wisdom.

People like Anna (in Liv Ullmann’s surgical performance) is like traditional extremists of religious or ideological beliefs – she can even reach a point of trying to physically hurt another people, as Bergman points out at the end of his film, to hurt in order to save them from their “wrong path”, from being “the enemy of Truth”. The reason some people can behave righteously violently (like many in our country today who arm themselves with high-tech assault weapons in order to commit mass murders because in their minds and hearts they believe that they personify the ultimate, true moral posture).

Sometimes a whole countries can behave under the influence of megalomaniacal psychological obsession. Under the influence of self-glorification complex they easily become a danger to neighboring nations and themselves. Their leadership should keep destiny of Bergman’s and Ullmann’s Anna as a warning. Boasting about their countries’ exceptionalism and superiority – being the first and the best in the world provides people delirious justification for behaving arrogantly – from supreme, superhuman position. It’s from here come the danger of the massive destructions of the human lives and nature, and political and economic achievements of civilization.

“The Passion of Anna” is focused on aesthetic investigation of intimate and social relationships, it teaches us how similar can be psychology of personal love and hate on the one hand and psychology of social animosity on the other, or psychology of so called peaceful times vs. psychology of war, or how “healthy” competition and calculation of profit can transform human life into total mutual hate. Traditional differentiation between Bergman as an artist of intimate relations and Kurosawa as an artist of military conflicts and social clashes is outdated. It looks that external and internal lives of the characters is much more psychologically connected, as personal and macro-social problems. The Kurosawa’s films are impregnated by analysis of intimate relations, while Bergman films by analysis of societal strains and clashes. Intimate and social fights are based on similar psychological configurations, which allow us, for example, to extrapolate from Anna-Andreas Winkelman (Max von Sydow) or Elis Vergerus-Eva (Erland Josephson and Bibi Andersson) to inter-social and inter-national problems, to the very social climate people live in.

Collaboration and competition, tenderness and incompatibility, fight for domination inside the very love, revengefulness and tolerance, sparkles of fury and ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness, intellectual honesty and rivalry, and justice and equality vs obsessive greed, etc. are simultaneously categories of intimacy and human macro-relations through the borders and languages.


Anna (Liv Ullmann) – the carrier of the heaven and Andreas Winkelman (Max von Sydow) – the carrier of the sky, are both the carriers of symbols of hidden megalomania. It’s not surprising that they have lost their relationships, because both have the negative energies of their inability for equality and the absence of the ability for at least moments of forgiveness for the sake of one another, for life.


On the other hands, Andreas and Eva who in the moments of mutual confessions are prone to close their eyes and are able to share their self-frankness, also cannot belong together, but the self-critical moments between them open hope for emotional togetherness if not with each other, then at least in possible future…