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Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman during production of Wild Strawberries (1957)
Born Ernst Ingmar Bergman
14 July 1918(1918-07-14)
Uppsala, Sweden
Died 30 July 2007 (aged 89)
Fårö, Sweden
Occupation film director, producer & writer
Years active 1944 - 2005
Spouse(s) Else Fisher (1943-1945)
Ellen Lundström (1945-1950)
Gun Grut (1951-1959)
Käbi Laretei (1959-1969)
Ingrid von Rosen (1971-1995)

Ernst Ingmar Bergman ([ˈɪŋmar ˈbærjman]  ( listen); 14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007) was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. His influential body of work often dealt with themes such as bleakness and despair, as well as comedy and hope, in his cinematic exploration of the human condition. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential dramatic artists of all time.[1]

He directed sixty-two films, most of which he also wrote, and directed over one hundred and seventy plays. Among his company of actors were Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in the landscape of Sweden, his major themes being death, illness, betrayal and insanity.

Bergman was active for more than six decades, but his career was seriously threatened in 1976 when he suspended a number of pending productions, closed his studios, and went into self-imposed exile in Germany for eight years following a botched criminal investigation for alleged income tax evasion.

Contents

Early life

Ingmar's father, Pastor Erik Bergman, pictured at Hedvig Eleonora Church in Stockholm

Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala, Sweden to Karin (maiden name Åkerblom) Bergman, a nurse, and Erik Bergman, a Lutheran minister and later chaplain to the King of Sweden. Ingmar grew up surrounded by religious imagery and discussion. His father was a conservative parish minister with certain extreme right political sympathy and strict parenting concepts. Ingmar was locked up in dark closets for "infractions" like wetting the bed. "While father preached away in the pulpit and the congregation prayed, sang, or listened," Ingmar wrote in his autobiography Laterna Magica,

"I devoted my interest to the church’s mysterious world of low arches, thick walls, the smell of eternity, the colored sunlight quivering above the strangest vegetation of medieval paintings and carved figures on ceilings and walls. There was everything that one’s imagination could desire — angels, saints, dragons, prophets, devils, humans."

Though he was raised in a devout Lutheran household, Bergman later stated that he lost his faith at age eight years, and only came to terms with this fact while making Winter Light.[2]

Bergman's interest in theatre and film began early:

"At the age of 9, he traded a set of tin soldiers for a battered magic lantern, a possession that altered the course of his life. Within a year, he had created, by playing with this toy, a private world in which he felt completely at home, he recalled. He fashioned his own scenery, marionettes, and lighting effects and gave puppet productions of Strindberg plays in which he spoke all the parts."[3]

In 1934, at the age of 16, Bergman was sent to spend the summer vacation with family friends in Germany. He attended a Nazi rally in Weimar at which he saw Adolf Hitler.[4] He later wrote in Laterna Magica (The Magic Lantern) about the visit to Germany, how the German family had put a portrait of Adolf Hitler on the wall by his bed, and that "for many years, I was on Hitler's side, delighted by his success and saddened by his defeats".[5] Bergman did two five-month stretches of mandatory military service.

In 1937, he entered Stockholm University College (later renamed Stockholm University), to study art and literature. He spent most of his time involved in student theatre and became a "genuine movie addict".[6] At the same time, a romantic involvement led to a break with his father that lasted for years. Although he did not graduate, he wrote a number of plays, as well as an opera, and became an assistant director at a theater. In 1942, he was given the chance to direct one of his own scripts, Caspar's Death. The play was seen by members of Svensk Filmindustri who then offered Bergman position working on scripts. In 1943, he married Else Fisher.

Career

Film work

Bergman's film career began in 1941 with his rewriting of scripts, but his first major accomplishment was in 1944 when he wrote the screenplay for Torment/Frenzy (Hets), a film directed by Alf Sjöberg. Along with writing the screenplay, he was also given position as assistant director to the film. In his second autobiographical work Images: My Life in Film, Bergman describes the filming of the exteriors as his actual film directorial debut.[7] The international success of this film led to Bergman's first opportunity to direct a year later. During the next ten years, he wrote and directed more than a dozen films including The Devil's Wanton/Prison (Fängelse) in 1949 and The Naked Night/Sawdust and Tinsel (Gycklarnas afton) and Summer with Monika (Sommaren med Monika), both from 1953.

Bergman first achieved worldwide success with Smiles of a Summer Night (Sommarnattens leende) (1955), which won for "Best poetic humor" and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes the following year. This was followed by The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet) and Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället), released in Sweden ten months apart in 1957. The Seventh Seal won a special jury prize and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes and Wild Strawberries won numerous awards for Bergman and its star, Victor Sjöström.

Bergman continued to be productive for the next two decades. From the early 1960s, Bergman lived much of his life on the island of Fårö, Gotland, Sweden, where he made several of his films.

In the early 1960s he directed a trilogy that explored the theme of faith and doubt in God, Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en Spegel - 1961), Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna - 1962), and The Silence (Tystnaden - 1963). In 1966, he directed Persona, a film that he himself considered one of his most important works. While the shockingly experimental film won few awards many consider it his masterpiece. Other notable films of the period include The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan - 1960), Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen - 1968), Shame (Skammen - 1968) and A Passion/The Passion of Anna (En Passion - 1969). Bergman also produced extensively for Swedish television at this time. Two works of note were Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap - 1973) and The Magic Flute (Trollflöjten - 1975).

After his arrest in 1976 for tax evasion, Bergman swore he would never again make films in Sweden. He shut his film studio on the island of Fårö down and went into exile. He briefly considered the possibility of working in America and his next film, The Serpent's Egg (1977) was a German-U.S. production and his second English-language film (the first being 1971's "The Touch"). This was followed a year later with a British-Norwegian coproduction of Autumn Sonata (Höstsonaten - 1978). The film starred Ingrid Bergman and was the one notable film of this period. The one other film he directed was From the Life of the Marionettes (Aus dem Leben der Marionetten - 1980) a British-German coproduction.

In 1982, he temporarily returned to his homeland to direct Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander), a film that, unlike his previous productions, was aimed at a broader audience, but was also criticized within the profession for being shallow and commercial.[8] Bergman stated that the film would be his last, and that afterwards he would focus on directing theatre. Since then, he wrote several film scripts and directed a number of television specials. As with previous work for TV some of these productions were later released in theatres. The last such work was Saraband (2003), a sequel to Scenes from a Marriage and directed by Bergman when he was eighty-four years old.

Repertory company

Bergman developed a personal "repertory company" of Swedish actors whom he repeatedly cast in his films, including Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, and Gunnar Björnstrand, each of whom appeared in at least five Bergman features. Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, who appeared in nine of Bergman's films and one televisual movie (Saraband), was the last to join this group (in the 1966 film Persona), and ultimately became most closely associated with Bergman, both artistically and personally. They had a daughter together, Linn Ullmann (b. 1966).

Ingmar Bergman with his long time cinematographer Sven Nykvist during the production of Through a Glass Darkly (1960)
A great number of Bergman's interior scenes were filmed at the Filmstaden studios north of Stockholm.

Bergman began working with Sven Nykvist, his cinematographer, in 1953. The two of them developed and maintained a working relationship of sufficient rapport to allow Bergman not to worry about the composition of a shot until the day before it was filmed. On the morning of the shoot, he would briefly speak to Nykvist about the mood and composition he hoped for, and then leave Nykvist to work lacking interruption or comment until postproduction discussion of the next day's work.

Financing

By Bergman's own account, he never had a problem with funding. He cited two reasons for this: one, that he did not live in the United States, which he viewed as obsessed with box-office earnings; and two, that his films tended to be low-budget affairs. (Cries and Whispers, for instance, was finished for about $450,000, while Scenes from a Marriage — a six-episode television feature — cost only $200,000.)[9]

Technique

Bergman usually wrote his own screenplays, thinking about them for months or years before starting the actual procession of writing, which he viewed as somewhat tedious. His earlier films are carefully constructed, and are either based on his plays or written in collaboration with other authors. Bergman stated that in his later works, when on occasion his actors would want to do things differently from his own intention, he would let them, noting that the results were often "disastrous" when he did not do so. As his career progressed, Bergman increasingly let his actors improvise their dialogue. In his latest films, he wrote just the ideas informing the scene and allowed his actors to determine the exact dialogue.

When viewing daily rushes, Bergman stressed the importance of being critical but unemotive, claiming that he asked himself not if the work is great or terrible, but if it is sufficient or if it needs to be reshot.[10]

Themes

Bergman's films usually deal with existential question of mortality, loneliness, and religious faith.

While these themes could seem cerebral, sexual desire found its way to the foreground of most of his movies, whether the setting was a medieval plague (The Seventh Seal), upper-class familiar activity in early twentieth century Uppsala (Fanny and Alexander) or contemporary alienation (The Silence). His female characters are usually more in touch with their sexuality than the men, and unafraid to proclaim it, with the occasively breath-taking overtness (e.g., Cries and Whispers) that defined the work of "the conjurer," as Bergman called himself in a 1960 Time magazine cover story.[11] In an interview with Playboy in 1964, he said: "...the manifestation of sex is very important, and particularly to me, for above all, I don't want to make merely intellectual films. I want audiences to feel, to sense my films. This to me is much more important than their understanding them." Film, Bergman said, was his demanding mistress. Some of his major actresses became his actual mistresses as his life overlapped with his movie-making.

Love — twisted, thwarted, unexpressed, repulsed — was the leitmotif of many of his movies, beginning perhaps with Winter Light, where the pastor's barren faith is contrasted with his former mistress's struggle, tinged with spite, to help him find spiritual justification through love.

Bergman's views on his career

Ingmar Bergman and actress Ingrid Thulin during the production of The Silence (1963)

When asked about his movies, Bergman said he held Winter Light,[12] Persona, and Cries and Whispers in the highest regard, though in an interview in 2004, Bergman said that he was "depressed" by his own films and could not watch them anymore.[13] In these films, he said, he managed to push the medium to its limit.

While he denounced the critical classification of three of his films (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence) as a predetermined trilogy, saying he had no intention of connecting them and could not see any common motifs in them[14] , this contradicts the introduction Bergman himself wrote in 1964 when he had the three scripts published in a single volume: "These three films deal with reduction. Through a Glass Darkly - conquered certainty. Winter Light - penetrated certainty. The Silence - God's silence - the negative imprint. Therefore, they constitute a trilogy". The Criterion Collection groups the films as a trilogy in a boxed set.

Bergman stated on numerous occasions (for example in the interview book Bergman on Bergman) that The Silence meant the end of the era in which religious questions were a major concern of his films.

Influence

Many film-makers have praised Bergman and cited his work as a major influence on their own:

Theatrical work

Although Bergman was universally famous for his contribution to cinema, he was also an active and productive stage director all his life. During his studies at Stockholm University, he became active in its student theatre, where he made a name for himself early on. His first work after graduation was as a trainee-director at a Stockholm theatre. At twenty-six years, he became the youngest theatrical manager in Europe at the Helsingborg city theatre. He stayed at Helsingborg for three years and then became the director at Gothenburg city theatre from 1946 to 1949.

He became director of the Malmö city theatre in 1953 and remained for seven years. Many of his star actors were people with whom he began working on stage, and a number of people in the "Bergman troupe" of his 1960s films came from Malmö's city theatre (Max von Sydow, for example). He was the director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm from 1960 to 1966 and manager from 1963 to 1966.

After Bergman left Sweden because of the tax evasion incident, he became director of the Residenz Theatre of Munich, Germany (1977–84). He remained active in theatre throughout the 1990s and made his final production on stage with Ibsen's The Wild Duck at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in 2002.

A complete list of Bergman's work in theatre can be found under "Stage Productions and Radio Theatre Credits" in the Ingmar Bergman filmography article.

Tax evasion charges

1976 was one of the most traumatic years in the life of Ingmar Bergman. On 30 January 1976, while rehearsing August Strindberg's Dance of Death at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, he was arrested by two plainclothes police officers and charged with income-tax evasion. The impact of the event on Bergman was devastating. He suffered a nervous break-down as a result of the humiliation and was hospitalized in a state of deep depression.

The investigation was focused on an alleged 1970 transaction of 500,000 Swedish kronor (SEK) between Bergman's Swedish company Cinematograf and its Swiss subsidiary Persona, an entity that was mainly used for the paying of salaries to foreign actors. Bergman dissolved Persona in 1974 after having been notified by the Swedish Central Bank and subsequently reported the income. On 23 March 1976, the special prosecutor Anders Nordenadler dropped the charges against Bergman, saying that the alleged "crime" had no legal basis, comparing the case to the bringing of "charges against a person who is stealing his own car".[28] Director General Gösta Ekman, chief of the Swedish Internal Revenue Service, defended the failed investigation, saying that the investigation was dealing with important legal material and that Bergman was treated just like any other suspect. He expressed regret that Bergman had left the country, hoping that Bergman was a "stronger" person now when the investigation had shown that he had not done any wrong.[29]

Even though the charges were dropped, Bergman was for a while disconsolate, fearing he would never again return to directing. Despite pleas by the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, high public figures, and leaders of the film industry, he vowed never to work again in Sweden. He closed down his studio on the barren Baltic island of Fårö, suspended two announced film projects, and went into self-imposed exile in Munich, Germany. Harry Schein, director of the Swedish Film Institute, estimated the immediate damage as ten million SEK (kronor) and hundreds of jobs lost.[30]

Return

Although he continued to operate from Munich, by mid-1978 Bergman seemed to have overcome some of his bitterness toward his homeland. In July of that year he was back in Sweden, celebrating his sixtieth birthday at Fårö, and partly resumed his work as a director at Royal Dramatic Theatre. To honor his return, the Swedish Film Institute launched a new Ingmar Bergman Prize to be awarded annually for excellence in film-making.[31]

Still, he remained in Munich until 1984. In one of the last major interviews with Bergman, conducted in 2005 at Fårö Island, Bergman said that despite being active during the exile, he had effectively lost eight years of his professional life.[32]

Bergman retired from film-making in December 2003. He had hip surgery in October 2006 and was making a difficult recovery. He died peacefully in his sleep,[33] at his home on Fårö, on 30 July 2007, at the age of eighty-nine years,[34] the same day that another renowned film director, Michelangelo Antonioni, also died. He was buried on the island on 18 August 2007 in a private ceremony. A place in the Fårö churchyard was prepared for him under heavy secrecy. Although he was buried on the island of Fårö, his name and date of birth were inscribed under his wife's name on a tomb at Roslagsbro churchyard, Norrtälje Municipality, several years before his death.

Family

The grave of Ingmar Bergman and his last wife, Ingrid von Rosen.

Bergman was married five times:

  • 25 March 1943 – 1945, to Else Fischer, choreographer and dancer (divorced). Children:
  • 22 July 1945 – 1950, to Ellen Lundström, choreographer and film director (divorced). Children:
    • Eva Bergman, film director, born 1945,
    • Jan Bergman, film director (1946–2000), and
    • twins Mats and Anna Bergman, both actors and film directors and born in 1948.
  • 1951 – 1959, to Gun Grut, journalist (divorced). Children:
    • Ingmar Bergman Jr, airline captain, born 1951.
  • 1959 – 1969, to Käbi Laretei, concert pianist (divorced). Children:
  • 11 November 1971 – 20 May 1995, to Ingrid von Rosen (maiden name Karlebo) (widowed). Children:
    • Maria von Rosen, author, born 1959.

The first four marriages ended in divorce, while the last ended when his wife died of stomach cancer.

He was also the father of writer Linn Ullmann, with actress Liv Ullmann. In all, Bergman had nine children that he has acknowledged to be his own. He was married to all but one of the mothers of his children. His daughter with Ingrid von Rosen was born twelve years before their marriage.

In addition to his marriage, Bergman also had major relationships with Harriet Andersson (1952–55), Bibi Andersson (1955–59), and Liv Ullmann (1965–70). He was an agnostic [35]

Work

Awards

Academy Awards

In 1971, Bergman received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the Academy Awards ceremony. Three of his films have won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film:

BAFTA Awards

Berlin Film Festival

Cesar Awards

Cannes Film Festival

Golden Globe Awards

  • Won: Best Foreign Film Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället) (1960)
  • Nominated: Best Director, Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) (1984)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89". New York Times. 30 July 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/movies/30cnd-bergman.html. Retrieved 2007-07-31. "Ingmar Bergman, the 'poet with the camera' who is considered one of the greatest directors in motion picture history, died today on the small island of Faro where he lived on the Baltic coast of Sweden, Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, said. Bergman was 89."  
  2. ^ The Films of Ingmar Bergman, by Jesse Kalin, 2003, p. 193
  3. ^ "Ingmar Bergman, Master Filmmaker, Dies at 89" by Mervyn Rothstein, New York Times, 31 July 2007
  4. ^ Ingmar Bergman: His Life and Films, by Jerry Vermilye, 2001, p. 6; see also his autobiography, Laterna Magica.
  5. ^ Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Lantern (transl. from Swedish: Laterna Magica), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. ISBN 9780226043821
  6. ^ Ingmar Bergman: His Life and Films, by Jerry Vermilye, 2001, p. 6
  7. ^ Ingmar Bergman, Images : my life in film (translated from the Swedish by Marianne Ruuth), London: Bloomsbury, 1994. ISBN 0-7475-1670-7
  8. ^ See e.g. "Filmkonstnären med stort F" Dagens Nyheter, 2 August 2007.
  9. ^ American Film Institute seminar, 1975, on The Criterion Collection's 2006 DVD of The Virgin Spring
  10. ^ American Film Institute seminar, 1975, on The Criterion Collection's 2006 DVD of The Virgin Spring
  11. ^ "THE SCREEN: I Am A Conjurer". Time Magazine. 14 March 1960. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,871569,00.html. Retrieved 2009-11-16.  
  12. ^ "Winter Light". 2005. http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/05/34/winter_light.html.  
  13. ^ "Bergman 'depressed' by own films". BBC News. 2004-04-10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/3616037.stm. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  
  14. ^ stated in Marie Nyreröd's interview series (the first part named Bergman och filmen) aired on Sveriges Television Easter 2004.
  15. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 1, 2007). "Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman". Time. http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1648917,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-bottom. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  
  16. ^ "Ingmar Bergman, Master Filmmaker, 1918-2007". BLAST. 1 August 2007. http://www.blastmagazine.com/2007/08/ingmar-bergman/. Retrieved 2007-08-01.  
  17. ^ "Robert Altman (I) - Biography". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000265/bio. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
  18. ^ a b c d e f g "Ingmar Bergman". http://www.ingmarbergman.se/page.asp?guid=3D2E8D82-6F29-490F-9F03-4C813ADAD768&LanCD=EN. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
  19. ^ "With words or pictures, Ingmar Bergman got you thinking". Los Angeles Times. 1 August 2007. http://www.ingmarbergman.se/page.asp?guid=58456BCB-51FD-457B-BD3C-3F755907C770. Retrieved 2007-08-01.  
  20. ^ "In Memoriam: Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni - India News Blog". http://newsblog.aol.in/2007/08/04/in-memoriam-ingmar-bergman-michelangelo-antonioni/. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
  21. ^ Harlan, Jan (2007). "A Talk with Kubrick". http://www.dvdtalk.com/janharlaninterview.html.  
  22. ^ "Ang Lee praises Bergman". http://www.ingmarbergman.se/page.asp?guid=9108307A-4EBB-4F92-8E28-75DE37FA5A72. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  23. ^ O'Hehir, Andrew (7 December 2006). "Beyond the Multiplex". http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2006/12/07/btm/.  
  24. ^ "There is no Aphrodisiac like Innocence". http://www.popmatters.com/film/interviews/oshii-mamoru-040923.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-10.  
  25. ^ "Ingmar Bergman". http://www.ingmarbergman.se/page.asp?guid=3D2E8D82-6F29-490F-9F03-4C813ADAD768&LanCD=EN.  
  26. ^ Le Cain, Maximillian. "Andrei Tarkovsky". http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/tarkovsky.html.  
  27. ^ "Ebert, Roger. "Roger Ebert Review of Faithless(2000)". http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20010216/REVIEWS/102160302/1023.  
  28. ^ Åtal mot Bergman läggs ned (video) Sveriges Television, Rapport, 23 March 1976.
  29. ^ Generaldirektör om Bergmans flykt (video) Sveriges Television, Rapport, 22 April 1976.
  30. ^ Harry Schein om Bergmans flyk (video) Sveriges Television, Rapport, 22 April 1976.
  31. ^ Ephraim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia, New York: HarperCollins, 5th ed., 1998.
  32. ^ Ingmar Bergman: Samtal på Fårö, Sveriges Radio, 28 March 2005
  33. ^ "Bergman buried in quiet ceremony". BBC News. 2007-08-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6952992.stm. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  
  34. ^ "Film Great Ingmar Bergman Dies at 89". 2007-07-30. http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=114&sid=1204057.  
  35. ^ http://www.adherents.com/people/pb/Ingmar_Bergman.html
  36. ^ "Berlinale: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. http://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/1958/03_preistraeger_1958/03_Preistraeger_1958.html. Retrieved 2010-01-03.  

Bibliography

  • Bergman on Bergman: Interviews with Ingmar Bergman. By Stig Björkman, Torsten Manns, and Jonas Sima; Translated by Paul Britten Austin. Simon & Schuster, New York. Swedish edition copyright 1970; English translation 1973.
  • Filmmakers on filmmaking: the American Film Institute seminars on motion pictures and television (edited by Joseph McBride). Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1983.
  • Images: my life in film, Ingmar Bergman, Translated by Marianne Ruuth. New York, Arcade Pub., 1994, ISBN 1-55970-186-2
  • The Magic Lantern, Ingmar Bergman, Translated by Joan Tate New York, Viking Press, 1988, ISBN 0-670-81911-5

All of Bergman's original screen-plays for films directed by himself, from Through a Glass Darkly onwards — and the screen-plays he has penned since the 1980s for other directors — have been published in Swedish and most of them translated into English and other speeches. Some of his screen-plays have also come to use in stage theatre, often without the knowledge or license of the author (e.g. Scenes from a Marriage, Smiles of a Summer Night, After the Rehearsal).

In 1968, when the Swedish film magazine Chaplin published an "anti-Bergman issue" to clear the air from the slightly suffocating presence of the genius director, who was collecting Oscars and Palmes d'Or by the handful, Bergman secretly contributed one of the more acerbic pieces, signed by "the French film critic Ernest Riffe". The word soon began to spread that he was the author himself, and though he half-heartedly denied this, in Bergman on Bergman he admits to the truth of the allegation.

External links

Bibliographies

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Henri-Georges Clouzot
for The Mystery of Picasso
Prix du Jury
1957
for The Seventh Seal
Succeeded by
Jacques Tati
for Mon Oncle
Preceded by
Robert Bresson
for A Man Escaped
Prix de la mise en scène
1958
for Brink of Life
Succeeded by
François Truffaut
for The 400 Blows
Preceded by
Sidney Lumet
for 12 Angry Men
Golden Bear
1958
for Wild Strawberries
Succeeded by
Claude Chabrol
for Les Cousins
Preceded by
Alfred Hitchcock
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
1971
Succeeded by
Lawrence Weingarten
Preceded by
Orson Welles
Career Golden Lion
1971
Succeeded by
Charles Chaplin, Anatali Golovnia, Billy Wilder
Preceded by
Stanley Kubrick
for A Clockwork Orange'
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
1972
for Cries and Whispers
Succeeded by
François Truffaut
for Day for Night
Preceded by
Peter Bogdanovitch
for The Last Picture Show
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
1972
for Cries and Whispers
Succeeded by
George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck
for American Graffiti
Preceded by
George Lucas, Gloria Katz, Willard Huyck
for American Graffiti
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay
1974
for Scenes from a Marriage
Succeeded by
François Truffaut, Suzanne Schiffman, Jean Gruault
for The Story of Adele H.
Preceded by
Sydney Pollack
for Tootsie
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
1983
for Fanny and Alexander
Succeeded by
David Lean
for A Passage to India

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

People ask what are my intentions with my films — my aims. It is a difficult and dangerous question, and I usually give an evasive answer: I try to tell the truth about the human condition, the truth as I see it.
Self-portraiture is something one should never get involved in, since it is wrong to lie even though one endeavours to tell the truth.

Ingmar Bergman (1918-07-142007-07-30) was a Swedish director and screenwriter whose unique cinematographic style made him one of the most notable directors of the twentieth century.

See also: The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet)

Contents

Sourced

  • Self-portraiture is something one should never get involved in, since it is wrong to lie even though one endeavours to tell the truth.
We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster's whim and the purest ideal.
  • When we experience a film, we consciously prime ourselves for illusion. Putting aside will and intellect, we make way for it in our imagination. The sequence of pictures plays directly on our feelings. Music works in the same fashion; I would say that there is no art form that has so much in common with film as music. Both affect our emotions directly, not via the intellect. And film is mainly rhythm; it is inhalation and exhalation in continuous sequence. Ever since childhood, music has been my great source of recreation and stimulation, and I often experience a film or play musically.
    • "Introduction" of Four Screenplays (1960)
Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.
  • People ask what are my intentions with my films — my aims. It is a difficult and dangerous question, and I usually give an evasive answer: I try to tell the truth about the human condition, the truth as I see it. This answer seems to satisfy everyone, but it is not quite correct. I prefer to describe what I would like my aim to be. There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed — master builders, artists, labourers, clowns, noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres.
    Regardless of my own beliefs and my own doubts, which are unimportant in this connection, it is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God.
    He lived and died without being more or less important than other artisans; 'eternal values,' 'immortality' and 'masterpiece' were terms not applicable in his case. The ability to create was a gift. In such a world flourished invulnerable assurance and natural humility. Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation.
    The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, his individualism almost holy. Thus we finally gather in one large pen, where we stand and bleat about our loneliness without listening to each other and without realizing that we are smothering each other to death. The individualists stare into each other's eyes and yet deny the existence of each other.
    We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster's whim and the purest ideal. Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon's head, an angel, a devil — or perhaps a saint — out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts.
    Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.
    • Four Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman (1960)
I always admire people who are going on, who have a sort of idea and, however crazy it is, are putting it through; they are putting people and things together, and they make something. I always admire this.
  • Say anything you want against The Seventh Seal. My fear of death — this infantile fixation of mine — was, at that moment, overwhelming. I felt myself in contact with death day and night, and my fear was tremendous. When I finished the picture, my fear went away. I have the feeling simply of having painted a canvas in an enormous hurry — with enormous pretension but without any arrogance. I said, 'Here is a painting; take it, please.'
    • Interview with Charles Thomas Samuels (1971)
  • In this profession, I always admire people who are going on, who have a sort of idea and, however crazy it is, are putting it through; they are putting people and things together, and they make something. I always admire this. But I can't see his pictures. I sit for perhaps twenty-five or thirty or fifty minutes and then I have to leave, because his pictures make me so nervous. I have the feeling the whole time that he wants to tell me things, but I don't understand what it is, and sometimes I have the feeling that he's bluffing, double-crossing me.
I want very much to tell, to talk about, the wholeness inside every human being...
  • I think he's a very good technician. And he has something in Psycho, he had some moments. Psycho is one of his most interesting pictures because he had to make the picture very fast, with very primitive means. He had little money, and this picture tells very much about him. Not very good things. He is completely infantile, and I would like to know more — no, I don't want to know — about his behaviour with, or, rather, against women. But this picture is very interesting.
  • I want very much to tell, to talk about, the wholeness inside every human being. It's a strange thing that every human being has a sort of dignity or wholeness in him, and out of that develops relationships to other human beings, tensions, misunderstandings, tenderness, coming in contact, touching and being touched, the cutting off of a contact and what happens then.
    • As quoted in Ingmar Bergman Directs (1972) by John Simon
I'm very Swedish — I don't dislike to be alone.
  • I write scripts to serve as skeletons awaiting the flesh and sinew of images.
    • The New York Times (22 January 1978)
  • I am very much aware of my own double self... The well-known one is very under control; everything is planned and very secure. The unknown one can be very unpleasant. I think this side is responsible for all the creative work — he is in touch with the child. He is not rational, he is impulsive and extremely emotional. Perhaps it is not even a "he," but a "she."
  • I was very cruel to actors and to other people. I think I was a very, very unpleasant young man. If I met the young Ingmar today, I think I would say, "You are very talented and I will see if I can help you, but I don't think I want anything else to do with you." I don't say I'm pleasant now, but I think I changed slowly in my 50's. At least I hope I've changed.
    • As quoted in "Ingmar Bergman: Summing Up A Life In Film" by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times Magazine (26 June 1983)
  • I am so 100 percent Swedish... Someone has said a Swede is like a bottle of ketchup — nothing and nothing and then all at once — splat. I think I'm a little like that. And I think I'm Swedish because I like to live here on this island. You can't imagine the loneliness and isolation in this country. In that way, I'm very Swedish — I don't dislike to be alone
    • As quoted in "Ingmar Bergman: Summing Up A Life In Film" by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times Magazine (26 June 1983)
  • I'm planning, you see, to try to confine myself to the truth. That's hard for an old, inveterate fantasy martyr and [illegible] liar who has never hesitated to give truth the form he felt the occasion demanded.
Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.
  • When film is not a document, it is dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn't explain. What should he explain anyhow? He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media. All my life I have hammered on the doors of the rooms in which he moves so naturally. Only a few times have I managed to creep inside. Most of my conscious efforts have ended in embarrassing failure...
    • On Andrei Tarkovsky in Laterna Magica (1987); The Magic Lantern : An Autobiography as translated by Joan Tate (1988) [also sometimes referred to as The Magical Lantern]
  • Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames in a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness. At the editing table, when I run the trip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood: in the darkness of the wardrobe, I slowly wind one frame after another, see almost imperceptible changes, wind faster — a movement.
    • Laterna Magica (1987); The Magic Lantern : An Autobiography as translated by Joan Tate (1988)
    • Variant translation: Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
      • As quoted in "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" by John Berger, Sight and Sound (June 1991)
  • I hope I never get so old I get religious.
    • As quoted in the International Herald Tribune (8 September 1989)
  • The demons are innumerable, arrive at the most inappropriate times and create panic and terror... but I have learned that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage.... Lilies often grow out of carcasses' arseholes.
  • I don't watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry... and miserable. I think it's awful.

Films

Our social relationships are limited, most of the time, to gossip and criticizing people's behavior. This observation slowly pushed me to isolate from the so-called social life.
  • This damned ranting about doom. Is that food for the minds of modern people? Do they really expect us to take them seriously?
  • Our social relationships are limited, most of the time, to gossip and criticizing people's behavior. This observation slowly pushed me to isolate from the so-called social life. My days pass by in solitude.
  • Love her? You're devoid of all feeling. You lack common decency. You know how to express yourself. You always have just the right words. There's just one thing you haven't the slightest clue about: life itself. You're a craven coward, but a genius at evasions and excuses.
  • When Jesus was nailed to the cross — and hung there in torment - he cried out — "God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" He cried out as loud as he could. He thought that his heavenly father had abandoned him. He believed everything he'd ever preached was a lie. The moments before he died, Christ was seized by doubt. Surely that must have been his greatest hardship? God's silence.
  • You find him disgusting with his thick mouth and ugly body and wet appealing eyes. You think he's disgusting and you're afraid.
    • "Alma" (Bibi Andersson) in Persona (1966)

Bergman on Bergman (1970)

My basic view of things is — not to have any basic view of things. From having been exceedingly dogmatic, my views on life have gradually dissolved. They don't exist any longer...
Bergman on Bergman: Interviews with Ingmar Bergman (1970); Interviews (1968 - 1970) by Stig Bjorkman, Torsten Manns and Jonas Sima; English translation by Paul Britten Austin (1973) ISBN 0306805200
  • I know the first film I ever saw — it must have been some time in 1924, when I was six or so... was Black Beauty. About a stallion. I still recall a sequence with fire. It was burning, I remember that vividly. And I remember too how it excited me, and how afterwards we bought the book of Black Beauty and how I learned the chapter on the fire by heart — at that time I still hadn't learned to read.
    • Stig Bjorkman interview
  • In our family we had a well-to-do aunt who always gave us magnificent Christmas presents. She was so much part of the family that we even included her in our prayers at bedtime... I suppose I must have been nine or ten years old at the time. Suddenly Aunt Anna's Christmas presents were lying there too, and among them a parcel with 'Forsner's on it. So of course I instantly knew it contained a projector. For a couple of years I'd been consumed with a passionate longing to own one, but had been considered too small for such a present... I was incredibly excited. Because my father was a clergyman we never got our presents on Christmas Eve, like other Swedish children do. We got them on Christmas Day... Well, you can imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be my older brother — he's four years older than myself — who got the projector — and I was given a teddy bear. It was one of my life's bitterest disappointments. After all, my brother wasn't a scrap interested in cinematography. But both of us had masses of lead soldiers. So on Boxing Day I bought the projector off him for half my army and he beat me hollow in every war ever afterwars. But I'd got the projector, anyway.
    • Stig Bjorkman interview
For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist?
  • That I wasn't interested in politics or social matters, that's dead right. I was utterly indifferent. After the war and the discovery of the concentration camps, and with the collapse of political collaborations between the Russians and the Americans, I just contracted out. My involvement became religious. I went in for a psychological, religious line... the salvation-damnation issue, for me, was never political. It was religious. For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist? Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world? Or, if God doesn't exist, what do we do then? What does our world look like then? In none of this was there the least political colour. My revolt against bourgeois society was a revolt-against-the-father. I was a peripheral fellow, regarded with deep suspicion from every quarter... When I arrived in Gothenburg after the war, the actors at the Municipal Theatre fell into distinct groups: old ex-Nazis, Jews, and anti-Nazis. Politically speaking, there was dynamite in that company: but Torsten Hammaren, the head of the theatre, held it together in his iron grasp.
    • Stig Bjorkman interview
Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world?
  • My basic view of things is — not to have any basic view of things. From having been exceedingly dogmatic, my views on life have gradually dissolved. They don't exist any longer... I've a strong impression that our world is about to go under. Our political systems are deeply compromised and have no further uses. Our social behavior patterns — interior and exterior — have proved a fiasco. The tragic thing is, we neither can nor want to, nor have the strength to alter course. It's too late for revolutions, and deep down inside ourselves we no longer even believe in their positive effects. Just around the corner an insect world is waiting for us — and one day it's going to roll in over our ultra-individualized existence. Otherwise I'm a respectable social democrat.
    • Stig Bjorkman interview
Unmotivated cruelty is something which never ceases to fascinate me; and I'd very much like to know the reason for it.
  • Now let's get this Devil business straight, once and for all. To begin at the beginning: the notion of God, one might say, has changed aspect over the years, until it has either become so vague that it has faded away altogether or else has turned into something entirely different. For me, hell has always been a most suggestive sort of place; but I've never regarded it as being located anywhere else than on earth. Hell is created by human beings — on earth!
    What I believed in those days — and believed in for a long time — was the existence of a virulent evil, in no way dependent upon environmental or hereditary factors. Call it original sin or whatever you like — anyway an active evil, of which human beings, as opposed to animals, have a monopoly. Our very nature, qua human beings, is that inside us we always carry around destructive tendencies, conscious or unconscious, aimed both at ourselves and at the outside world.
    As a materialization of this virulent, indestructible, and — to us — inexplicable and incomprehensble evil, I manufactured a personage possessing the diabolical traits of a mediaeval morality figure. In various contexts I'd made it into a sort of private game to have a diabolic figure hanging around. His evil was one of the springs in my watch-works. And that's all there is to the devil-figure in my early films... Unmotivated cruelty is something which never ceases to fascinate me; and I'd very much like to know the reason for it. Its source is obscure and I'd very much like to get at it.
    • Torsten Manns interview
  • One of the strongest feelings I remember from my childhood is, precisely, of being humiliated; of being knocked about by words, acts, or situations.
    Isn't it a fact that children are always feeling deeply humiliated in their relations with grown-ups and each other? I have a feeling children spend a good deal of their time humiliating one another. Our whole education is just one long humiliation, and it was even more so when I was a child.
    One of the wounds I've found hardest to bear in my adult life has been the fear of humiliation, and the sense of being humiliated. . . Every time I read a review, for instance — whether laudatory or not — this feeling awakes. . . To humiliate and be humiliated, I think, is a crucial element in our whole social structure. It's not only the artist I'm sorry for. It's just that I know exactly where he feels most humiliated. Our bureaucracy, for instance. I regard it as in high degree built up on humiliation, one of the nastiest and most dangerous of all poisons.
    • Torsten Manns interview
  • I stick to what I know. If I've objected strongly to Christianity, it has been because Christianity is deeply branded by a very virulent humiliation motif. One of its main tenets is 'I, a miserable sinner, born in sin, who have sinned all my days, etc.' Our way of living and behaving under this punishment is completely atavistic. I could go on talking about this humiliation business for ever. It's one of the big basic experiences. I react very strongly to every form of humiliation; and a person in my situation, in my position, has been exposed to whole series of real humiliations. Not to mention having humiliated others!
    • Torsten Manns interview
  • To the fanatical believer physical and spiritual suffering is beside the point, compared with salvation. That is why, to him, everything happening around him is irrelevant, a mirror-image, a mere will-o'-the-wisp. ... I can really never get shot of them, the fanatics. Whether they appear as religious fanatics or vegetarian fanatics makes no odds. They're catastrophic people. These types whose whole cast of mind as it were looks beyond mere human beings toward some unknown goal. The terrible thing is the great power they often wield over their fellow human beings. Apart from the fact that I believe they suffer like the very devil, I've no sympathy for them.
    • Jonas Sima interview
  • I've never been much smitten by Catholicism. I've never been committed to any religious dogma of any sort. ... For years the Catholics had me on their blacklist. Then along comes some sharp-witted pater and says 'Let's take this lad into the business, instead.' And I've been plagued by Catholic interpretations ever since. ... I've never felt any attraction to Catholicism. Catholicism, I think, does have its attractions. But Protestantism is a wretched kettle of fish.
    • Stig Bjorkman interview
I suppose that's what the final sequence tries to express. The notion of love as the only thinkable form of holiness.
  • As far as I recall, it's a question of the total dissolution of all notions of an other-worldly salvation. During those years this was going on in me all the time and being replaced by a sense of the holiness — to put it clumsily — to be found in man himself. The only holiness which really exists. A holiness wholly of this world. And I suppose that's what the final sequence tries to express. The notion of love as the only thinkable form of holiness.
    At the same time another line of development in my idea of God begins here, one that has perhaps grown stronger over the years. The idea of the Christian God as something destructive and fantastically dangerous, something filled with risk for the human being and bringing out in him dark destructive forces instead of the opposite.
    • On the ideas of God presented in Hour of the Wolf (1968); Torsten Manns interview
  • Well, we're grasping for two things at once. Partly for communion with others — that's the deepest instinct in us. And partly, we're seeking security. By constant communion with others we hope we shall be able to accept the horrible fact of our total solitude. We're always reaching out for new projects, new structure, new systems in order to abolish — partly or wholly — our insight into our loneliness. If it weren't so, religious systems would never arise.
    • Torsten Manns interview
  • No one is safe from religious ideas and confessional phenomena. Neither you nor I. We can fall victim to them when we least expect it. It's like Mao flu, or being struck by lightning. You're utterly helpless. Exposed. As I see it today, any relapse is utterly out of the question. But I can't say it's out of the question tomorrow.
    • Jonas Sima interview
The drama turned into something else; into something altogether tangible, something perfectly real, elementary and self-evident.
  • Winter Light — suppose we discuss that now?... The film is closely connected with a particular piece of music: Stravinski's A Psalm Symphony. I heard it on the radio one morning during Easter, and it struck me I'd like to make a film about a solitary church on the plains of Uppland. Someone goes into the church, locks himself in, goes up to the altar, and says: 'God, I'm staying here until in one way or another You've proved to me You exist. This is going to be the end either of You or of me!' Originally the film was to have been about the days and nights lived through by this solitary person in the locked church, getting hungrier and hungrier, thirstier and thirstier, more and more expectant, more and more filled with his own experiences, his visions, his dreams, mixing up dream and reality, while he's involved in this strange, shadowy wrestling match with God.
    We were staying out on Toro, in the Stockholm archipelago. It was the first summer I'd had the sea all around me. I wandered about on the shore and went indoors and wrote, and went out again. The drama turned into something else; into something altogether tangible, something perfectly real, elementary and self-evident.
    The film is based on something I'd actually experienced. Something a clergyman up in Dalarna told me: the story of the suicide, the fisherman Persson. One day the clergyman had tried to talk to him; the next, Persson had hanged himself. For the clergyman it was a personal catastrophe.
    • Jonas Sima interview
One must do what it is one's duty to do, particularly in spiritual contexts. Even if it can seem meaningless...
  • We drove about, looking for churches, my father and I. My father, as you probably know, was a clergyman — he knew all the Uppland churches like the back of his hand. We went to morning services in variouis places and were deeply impressed by the spiritual poverty of these churches, by the lack of any congregation and the miserable spiritual status of the clergy, the poverty of their sermons, and the nonchalance and indifference of the ritual.
    In one church, I remember — and I think it has a great deal to do with the end of the film — Father and I were sitting together. My father had already been retired for many years, and was old and frail.... Just before the bell begins to toll, we hear a car outside, a shining Volvo: the clergyman climbs out hurriedly, and there is a faint buzz from the vestry, and then the clergyman appears before he ought to — when the bell stops, that is — and says he feels very poorly and that he's talked to the rector and the rector has said he can use an abbrviated form of the service and drop the part at the altar. So there would be just one psalm and a sermon and another psalm. And goes out. Whereon my father, furious, began hammering on the pew, got to his feet and marched out into the vestry, where a long mumbled conversation ensued; after which the churchwarden also went in, then someone ran up the organ gallery to fetch the organist, after which the churchwarden came out and announced that there would be a complete service after all. My father took the service at the altar, but at the beginning and the end.
    In some way I feel the end of the play was influenced by my father's intervention — that at all costs one must do what it is one's duty to do, particularly in spiritual contexts. Even if it can seem meaningless.
  • Today we say all art is political. But I'd say all art has to do with ethics. Which after all really comes to the same thing. It's a matter of attitudes. ... All this talk about me standing aside, cutting myself off and so forth, has always amazed me... I've stated, firmly and clearly, that though as an artist I'm not politically involved, I obviously am an expression of the society I live in. Anything else would be grotesque. But I don't make propaganda for either one attitude or the other. No. As I told you, I vote for the Social Democrats. Their way of solving social problems comes closest to what I regard as decent. That I also find their actual solutions odd in many ways is another matter...
    • Jonas Sima interview
It must be obvious that certain... — archetypes, aren't they called? — stick in one's mind...
  • I come from a world of conservative Christian thought. I've absorbed Christianity with my mother's milk. So it must be obvious that certain... archetypes, aren't they called? — stick in one's mind, and that certain lines, certain courses of events, certain ways of behaving, become adequate symbols for what goes on in the Christian system of ideas. ... I keep myself supplied with my own angels and demons...
    • Torsten Manns interview
  • People think there's a solution... If everything is distributed in the proper quarters, put into the right pigeonholes, everything will be fine. But I'm not so sure. ... Nothing, absolutely nothing at all has emerged out of all these ideas of faith and scepticism, all these convulsions, these puffings and blowings. For many of my fellow human beings on the other hand, I'm aware that these problems still exist — and exist as a terrible reality. I hope this generation will be the last to live under the scourge of religious anxiety.
    • Jonas Sima interview
  • If you have a faith, if you've some deep conviction, whether you're a Nazi or a Communist or what the hell else you are — then you can sacrifice yourself and others to your faith. But from the moment you've no faith — from that moment you live in a deep inner confusion — from then on you're exposed to what Strindberg calls 'the powers'.

Images : My Life in Films (1990)

The image that later became famous of the Dance of Death beneath the dark cloud was improvised in only a few minutes.
  • A French critic cleverly wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman." It is witty but unfortunate. For me, that is. I think it is only too true that Bergman (Ingmar, that is) did a Bergman... I love and admire the filmmaker Tarkovsky and believe him to be one of the greatest of all time. My admiration for Fellini is limitless. But I also feel that Tarkovsky began to make Tarkovsky films and that Fellini began to make Fellini films. Yet Kurosawa has never made a Kurosawa film. I have never been able to appreciate Buñuel. He discovered at an early stage that it is possible to fabricate ingenious tricks, which he elevated to a special kind of genius, particular to Buñuel, and then he repeated and varied his tricks. He always received applause. Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.
  • The Seventh Seal is one of the few films really close to my heart. Actually, I don't know why. It's certainly far from perfect. I had to contend with all sorts of madness, and one can detect here and there the speed with which it was made. But I find it even, strong, and vital.
  • The final scene when Death dances off with the travelers was…shot at Hovs hallar. We had packed up for the day because of an approaching storm. Suddenly, I caught sight of a strange cloud. Gunnar Fischer hastily set the camera back into place. Several of the actors had already returned to where we were staying, so a few grips and a couple of tourists danced in their place, having no idea what it was all about. The image that later became famous of the Dance of Death beneath the dark cloud was improvised in only a few minutes. That's how things can happen on the set.
If you peel off the layers of various theologies, the holy always remains.
  • Since at this time I was still very much in a quandary over religious faith, I placed my two opposing beliefs side by side, allowing each to state its case in its own way. In this manner, a virtual cease-fire could exist between my childhood piety and my newfound harsh rationalism. Thus, there are no neurotic complications between the knight and his vassals. Also, I infused the characters of Jof and Mia with something that was very important to me: the concept of the holiness of the human being. If you peel off the layers of various theologies, the holy always remains.
  • I had recklessly dared to do what I wouldn't dare to do today. The knight performs his morning prayer. When he is ready to pack up his chess set, he turns around, and there stands Death. 'Who are you?' asks the knight. 'I am Death.' Bengt Ekerot and I agreed that Death should have the features of a white clown. An amalgamation of a clown mask and a skull. It was a delicate and dangerous artistic move, which could have failed. Suddenly, an actor appears in whiteface, dressed all in black, and announces that he is Death. Everyone accepted the dramatic feat that he was Death, instead of saying, 'Come on now, don't try to put something over us! You can't fool us! We can see that you are just a talented actor who is painted white and clad in black! You're not Death at all!' But nobody protested. That made me feel triumphant and joyous.

Jan Aghed interview (2002)

Interview with Jan Aghed, published in the Swedish daily newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet (May 2002)
  • Among today's directors I'm of course impressed by Steven Spielberg and Scorsese, and Coppola, even if he seems to have ceased making films, and Steven Soderbergh — they all have something to say, they're passionate, they have an idealistic attitude to the filmmaking process. Soderbergh's Traffic is amazing. Another great couple of examples of the strength of American cinema is American Beauty and Magnolia.
I don't watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry...
  • I liked Truffaut a lot, I've felt a lot of admiration for his way to address the audience, and his storytelling.... La nuit américaine is adorable, and another film I like to see is L'enfant sauvage, with its fine humanism.
    • On the works of filmmaker Francois Truffaut
    • Variant translation: I liked Truffaut enormously, I admired him. His way of relating with an audience, of telling a story, is both fascinating and tremendously appealing. It's not my style of storytelling, but it works wonderfully well in relation to the film medium.
  • I've never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a fucking bore. He's made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin, féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mindnumbingly boring.
  • I've never liked Welles as an actor, because he's not really an actor. In Hollywood you have two categories, you talk about actors and personalities. Welles was an enormous personality, but when he plays Othello, everything goes down the drain, you see, that's when he's croaks. In my eyes he's an infinitely overrated filmmaker.
  • For me he's just a hoax. It's empty. It's not interesting. It's dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of — is all the critics' darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it's a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie's got is absolutely unbelievable.
  • He's done two masterpieces, you don't have to bother with the rest. One is Blow-Up, which I've seen many times, and the other is La Notte, also a wonderful film, although that's mostly because of the young Jeanne Moreau. In my collection I have a copy of Il Grido, and damn what a boring movie it is. So devilishly sad, I mean. You know, Antonioni never really learned the trade... He concentrated on single images, never realising that film is a rhythmic flow of images, a movement. Sure, there are brilliant moments in his films. But I don't feel anything for L'Avventura, for example. Only indifference. I never understood why Antonioni was so incredibly applauded. And I thought his muse Monica Vitti was a terrible actress.
    • On Michelangelo Antonioni
    • Variant translation: Antonioni has never properly learnt his craft. He's an aesthete. If, for example, he needs a certain kind of road for The Red Desert, then he gets the houses repainted on the damned street. That is the attitude of an aesthete. He took great care over a single shot, but didn't understand that a film is a rhythmic stream of images, a living, moving process; for him, on the contrary, it was such a shot, then another shot, then yet another. So, sure, there are some brilliant bits in his films... I can't understand why Antonioni is held in such high esteem.
  • We were supposed to collaborate once, and along with Kurosawa make one love story each for a movie produced by Dino de Laurentiis. I flew down to Rome with my script and spent a lot of time with Fellini while we waited for Kurosawa, who finally couldn't leave Japan because of his health, so the project went belly-up. Fellini was about to finish Satyricon. I spent a lot of time in the studio and saw him work. I loved him both as a director and as a person, and I still watch his movies, like La Strada and that childhood rememberance...

Quotes about Bergman

  • The Seventh Seal was always my favourite film, and I remember seeing it with a small audience at the old New Yorker Theatre. Who would have thought that the subject matter could yield such a pleasurable experience? If I described the story and tried to persuade a friend to watch it with me, how far would I get? 'Well,' I'd say, 'it takes place in a plague-ridden medieval Sweden and explores the limits of faith and reason based on Danish — and some German — philosophical concepts.' Now this is hardly anyone's idea of a good time, and yet it's all dealt off with such stupendous imagination, suspense, and flair that one sits riveted like a child at a harrowing fairy tale. Suddenly the black figure of Death appears on the seashore to claim his victim, and the Knight of Reason challenges him to a chess game, trying to stall for time and discover some meaning to life. The tale engages and stalks forward with sinister inevitability. Again, the images are breathtaking! The flagellants, the burning of the witch (worthy of Carl Dreyer), and the finale, as Death dances off with all the doomed people to the nether lands in one of the most memorable shots in all movies.
    Bergman is prolific, and the films that followed these early works were rich and varied, as his obsession moved from God's silence to the tortured relations between anguished souls trying to make sense of their feelings.
    • Woody Allen in "Through a Life Darkly" a review of The Magic Lantern : An Autobiography as translated by Joan Tate (1988) in The New York Times (18 September 1988)
  • I think his films have eternal relevance, because they deal with the difficulty of personal relationships and lack of communication between people and religious aspirations and mortality, existential themes that will be relevant a thousand years from now. When many of the things that are successful and trendy today will have been long relegated to musty-looking antiques, his stuff will still be great.
  • This is a testament of love and anguish from the man who used to be called the greatest living filmmaker. Well, dammit, he was. And, as proves, he still is.
  • Ingmar Bergman is probably the greatest living filmmaker.
  • During a career that spans some four decades, he has made about 50 movies, and in those movies he has created an immediately recognizable world. Whether it is the distant allegorical realm of The Seventh Seal or the banal domestic one of Scenes From a Marriage, this world is a place where faith is tenuous; communication, elusive; and self-knowledge, illusory at best. God is either silent (as in Winter Light) or malevolent (as in The Silence), and Bergman's characters find themselves ruled, instead, by the capricious ghosts and demons of the unconscious.
    More persuasively than any other director, Bergman has mapped out the geography of the individual psyche — its secret yearnings and its susceptibility to memory and desire.
  • I believe Bergman, De Sica, and Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them.
  • For me the filmmaker Bergman is the greatest actor of all. His vision and his filmic force, the thing that the Frenchmen call auteur. What Kurosawa and Fellini also have — but to me Bergman is number one!
  • I have always admired him, and I wish I could be a equally good filmaker as he is, but it will never happen. His love for the cinema almost gives me a guilty conscience.

External links

Wikipedia
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Simple English

Ingmar Bergman
File:Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman during production of Wild Strawberries (1957)
Born Ernst Ingmar Bergman
July 14, 1918(1918-07-14)
Uppsala, Sweden
Died July 30, 2007 (aged 89)
Fårö, Sweden
Years active 19442005
Spouse Else Fischer (1943–1945)
Ellen Lundström (1945-1950)
Gun Grut (1951–1959)
Käbi Laretei (1959–1969)
Ingrid von Rosen (1971–1995)
Children Lena Bergman (b. 1943)
Eva Bergman (b. 1945)
Jan Bergman (b. 1946)
Mats Bergman (b. 1948)
Anna Bergman (b. 1948)
Ingmar Bergman Jr. (b. 1951)
Maria von Rosen (b. 1959)
Daniel Bergman (b. 1962)
Linn Ullmann (b. 1966)
Awards NYFCC Award for Best Director
1973 Viskningar och rop
1974 Scener ur ett äktenskap
1983 Fanny och Alexander
NYFCC Award for Best Screenplay
1973 Viskningar och rop
 Ingmar Bergman (info • help) (IPA: ['ɪŋmar 'bærjman] in Swedish, but usually IPA: [ˈbɝgmən] in English) (July 14 1918July 30 2007[1]) was a Swedish stage and film director. Ingmar Bergman found bleakness and despair as well as comedy and hope in his indelible explorations of the human condition. He is regarded as one of the great masters of modern cinema.[2]

Many filmmakers worldwide, including Americans Woody Allen and Robert Altman, the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky and the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, have cited the work of Bergman as a major influence on their work.[needs proof]

Biography

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala, Sweden to a Lutheran minister of Danish descent, Erik Bergman (later chaplain to the King of Sweden), and his wife, Karin (née Åkerblom). He grew up surrounded by religious imagery and discussion. His father was a rather conservative parish minister and strict family father: Ingmar was locked up in dark closets for infractions such as wetting the bed. "While father preached away in the pulpit and the congregation prayed, sang or listened," Ingmar writes in his biography Laterna Magica,

"I devoted my interest to the church’s mysterious world of low arches, thick walls, the smell of eternity, the colored sunlight quivering above the strangest vegetation of medieval paintings and carved figures on ceilings and walls. There was everything that one’s imagination could desire — angels, saints, dragons, prophets, devils, humans."

He performed two five-month stretches of mandatory military service and studied Art and Literature at Stockholm University College (the later Stockholm University), but without graduating. Instead, he developed an interest in theatre and later in cinema (though he had become a "genuine movie addict"[3] by the early 1930s).

Although he grew up in a devout Lutheran household, Bergman stated that he lost his faith at age eight but came to terms with this fact only when making Winter Light.[4]

Since the early sixties Bergman lived much of his life on the island of Fårö, Gotland, Sweden, where he made a number of his movies. Bergman moved to Munich for a while following a protracted battle with the Swedish government over alleged tax evasion, and did not return to make another movie in Sweden until 1982, when he directed Fanny and Alexander. Bergman said this would be his last movie, and that he would go on to direct theater. Since that time he did make a number of movies for television, but later retired to Fårö, stating in 2004 that he would never again leave the island.

Ingmar Bergman died peacefully at his home on Fårö, in the early morning of July 30 2007, age 89,[5][6] the same day that another great film director, Michelangelo Antonioni, died.

References

  1. imdb.com
  2. "Ingmar Bergman, Famed Director, Dies at 89". New York Times. July 30, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/movies/30cnd-bergman.html. Retrieved 2007-07-21. "Ingmar Bergman, the “poet with the camera” who is considered one of the greatest directors in motion picture history, died today on the small island of Faro where he lived on the Baltic coast of Sweden, Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, said. Bergman was 89." 
  3. Ingmar Bergman: His Life and Films, by Jerry Vermilye, 2001, p. 6
  4. The Films of Ingmar Bergman, by Jesse Kalin, 2003, p. 193
  5. http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=1058&a=675505
  6. http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=114&sid=1204057

rue:Інґмар Берґман








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