Tag Archives: Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman – Skammen AKA Shame (1968)

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Ingmar Bergman’s Shame is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat on a remote island farm, until the civil war that drove them from the city catches up with them there. Amid the chaos of the military struggle, vividly evoked by pyrotechnics and by Sven Nykvist’s handheld camera work, the two are faced with impossible moral choices that tear at the fabric of their relationship. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Beröringen aka The Touch (1971)

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Bergman’s little-seen English-language film starring Elliott Gould and Bibi Andersson, which charts the course of a doomed affair, earned mixed reviews on release in 1971 and was quickly overshadowed by his subsequent works – but it’s time to recognise it as a major entry in the director’s canon.

It’s unsurprising that many myths and misconceptions have arisen surrounding Ingmar Bergman, that of the terminally gloomy Swede being merely the most prevalent. Here, after all, is someone acknowledged as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time yet viewed by those none too familiar with his body of work as a whole as a forbiddingly lofty, aloof philosopher rather than an artist or entertainer. (Even a feature in last month’s Sight & Sound claimed that some of Bergman’s films might today “be considered so wilfully opaque and mired in symbolism as to be past the point of parody”.) Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Trollflöjten AKA The Magic Flute (1975)

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This scintillating screen version of Mozart’s beloved opera shows Bergman’s deep knowledge of music and his gift for expressing it in filmic terms. Casting some of Europe’s finest soloists—among them Josef Köstlinger, Ulrik Cold, and Håkan Hagegård—the director lovingly recreated the baroque theater of the Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm to stage the story of the prince Tamino (Köstlinger) and his zestful sidekick Papageno (Hagegård), who seek to save a beautiful princess (Irma Urrila) from the clutches of evil. A celebration of love, forgiveness, and the brotherhood of man, The Magic Flute is considered by many to be the most exquisite opera film ever made. Read More »

Bille August – Den goda viljan AKA The Best Intentions (1991)

Scripted (but not directed) by Ingmar Bergman, Best Intentions is a multilayered backwards glance at the courtship of Bergman’s own parents. Henrik Bergman (Samuel Froler) is a struggling theology student in the year 1909. His intended, Anna Aakerbloom (Pernilla August, who married director Bille August while the film was in progress) is from a well-to-do family. Despite the expected class differences and personality clashes, love-or at least mutual understanding-prevails. But after a harsh, spare few years as the wife of a clergyman, Anna yearns for the more bountiful pleasures of her family home. Bergman writes himself into the proceedings as a mewling infant. The current three-hour theatrical version of Best Intentions (original title: Den Goda Viljan) was simultaneously prepared as a six-hour TV miniseries, which ran in Europe, Scandanavia, and Japan. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Såsom i en Spegel AKA Through a Glass Darkly (1961) (HD)

Synopsis:

Recently released from a mental hospital; Karin rejoins her emotionally disconnected family and their island home, only to slip from reality as she begins to believe she is being visited by God. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Scener ur ett äktenskap AKA Scenes from a Marriage [Theatrical Cut] (1973)

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Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson), tracking their relationship as it progresses through a number of successive stages: matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partnerships. Originally conceived as a five-hour, six-part television miniseries, the film is also presented in its three-hour theatrical cut. Shot on 16 mm in intense, intimate close-ups by cinematographer Sven Nykvist and featuring flawless performances by Ullmann and Josephson, Bergman’s emotional X-ray reveals the intense joys and pains of a complex bond. Read More »

Ingmar Bergman – Det sjunde inseglet AKA The Seventh Seal (1957)

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In recent years, The Seventh Seal has often been honored more for its historical stature than its prevailing vitality. Those who attended its first international rollout and were changed forever by the experience are now second-guessing their attachment to a work so firmly ensconced in the realm of middlebrow clichés. Its Eisenhower look-alike Reaper, emblematic chess game, and Dance of Death have been endlessly emulated and parodied. Worse, The Seventh Seal quickly assumed, and has never quite shaken, the reputation, formerly attributed to castor oil, of something good for you—a true kiss of death. A movie that’s good for you is, by definition, not good for you. Read More »