From the Life of the Marionettes (German: Aus dem Leben der Marionetten) is a 1980 film directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film was produced in West Germany with a German language screenplay and soundtrack while Bergman was in “tax exile” from his native Sweden. It is filmed in black and white apart from two colour sequences at the beginning and end of the movie. It is set in Munich. The title is a quotation excerpted from a passage in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi:
“Most unfortunately in the lives of the Marionettes there is always a BUT that spoils everything”.
Unlike Collodi’s story, however, Bergman’s is unremittingly bleak in tone. Continue reading
“All These Women (Swedish: För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor), originally released as Now About These Women in the UK, is a 1964 Swedish comedy film directed by Ingmar Bergman. It is a parody of Fellini’s 8½. Along with Smiles of a Summer Night, the film is one of the few comedy films ever made by Bergman. It also was Bergman’s first film to be shot in colour.”
“The director, who also collaborated on the script, is labyrinthine in his approach to his story and his initial use of color. A tongue-in-cheek subtitle states that “any resemblance between this film and reality must be a mistake.” But it is abundantly clear that it is Mr. Bergman’s intention to be serious about the occasionally elusive points he is making.” Continue reading
The Rite deals with a touring variety troupe called “Les Riens,” who are prosecuted and summoned to an interrogation because one of their numbers is considered grossly indecent. They are confronted with the judge’s accusations, which are extremely vague. The judge’s interrogation is harsh and relentless, it humiliates the artists, confuses them, shakes their self-confidence. Who are we? What is the meaning of our lives? – that is, our art?
In a series of taught scenes with great dramatic power and tension Bergman lets the three artists reveal themselves to the spectator’s astonished gaze. In scenes of passion, of blood, of darkness, which are occasionally broken by gleams of hope and consolation, the author gives a vision of what it means to be an artist and of art’s sanctity and curse. In the rite that forms the finale of the film, Art has avenged itself on reason. The artists, the abused ones, have spoken. Continue reading
Bergman writing on the genesis of the film in Images: My Life in Film:
‘In spite of all that happened, Lorens Marmstedt did not throw me out. With great diplomacy he pointed out that now would be the perfect time for at least one modest audience success. Otherwise my days as a movie director migth be numbered. A Ship Bound for India as well as It Rains on our Love had been made for Sweden’s Folkbiografer. Now Marmstedt suggested that I make a film for his own company, Terrafilm. It must be noted that Lorens was a passionate gambler, able to put his money on the same number a whole evening. Continue reading
In his book Images, Ingmar Bergman has written: “All my films can be thought of in terms of black and white, except for Cries and Whispers. In the screenplay it says that red represents the interior of the soul. When I was a child, I imagined the soul to be a dragon, a shadow floating in the air like blue smoke – a huge winged creature, half bird, half fish. But inside the dragon, everything was red.”
Certainly, Cries and Whispers marks the most sophisticated use of color in Bergman’s long career. It was only in 1963 that he turned, somewhat reluctantly, to color for All These Women, and even after that he continued to opt for black and white in such critical films as Persona, Hour of the Wolf, and Shame. With Cries and Whispers, however, Bergman for once – by his own admission – wants the work to be regarded in chromatic terms. Continue reading
The Passion of Anna is a 1969 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Its original Swedish title is En passion, which means “A passion”. Bergman was awarded Best Director at the 1971 National Society of Film Critics Awards for the film.
Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets Anna, who is grieving the recent deaths of her husband and son. She appears zealous in her faith and steadfast in her search for truth, but gradually her delusions surface. Andreas and Anna pursue a love affair, but he is unable to overcome his feelings of deep humiliation and remains disconnected. Meanwhile, the island community is victimized by an unknown person committing acts of animal cruelty. Continue reading
With Thirst (1949), Ingmar Bergman began to display an astonishing technical virtuosity and control over the medium of film. A crosshatched, multilayered narrative, sewn together with fascinating side trips and flashbacks, Thirst was adapted by theater critic (and Bergman mentor) Herbert Grevenius from four controversial short stories written by famed Swedish stage actress Birgit Tengroth, and moved Bergman even further away from his theatrical origins. Simultaneously a portrait of a decaying marriage and a dreamlike journey through various characters’ tragic pasts and presents, the film evinces a newfound assurance, both in storytelling complexity and visual invention. Notoriously hard on his own work, Bergman himself was even able to later grant, “The film does show a respectable cinematographic vitality. I was developing my own way of making movies.” Continue reading