‘Starkly ascetic regarding the physical effects, yet vibrating with sensibility.’
It was originally conceived as a four-part TV movie and cut in that version, spanning 312 minutes. A 188-minute version was created later for cinematic release, although this version was in fact the one to be released first. The TV version has since been released as a one-part film; both versions have been shown in theaters throughout the world.
See photos of Christmas Party from the film set.
Criterion – Fanny & Alexander – Television Version
Click any photo to enlarge
Liv Ullman on Erland on youtube via MUBI (scroll down)
Erland Josephson, who has died aged 88 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was artistically linked with Bergman even more than Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin. Josephson appeared in more than a dozen of Bergman’s films, and played a Bergman surrogate in Ullmann’s Faithless (2000).
“I am of the international upper class, the Swedish petit bourgeoisie of Jewish extraction with poor language skills, a conveyor of a few expressions and faces, with some intonation that combines ancient human experience with timely coquetry”
“In Bergman’s world I represented a sort of intellectual, sceptical, ironic person, rather cold and frustrated,” he said. “When I went abroad and made films in Italy and other places, I was used in different ways. I was often cast as crazy people … I think perhaps that changed how Ingmar saw me. Suddenly I was on the more magical side of his world, playing the people with fantasies, variety, the artists.”
Erland Josephson Gif Animation (Whoa!)
Nostalgia Directed by Tarkovsky
(Full film with Annoying voice over)
When Andrei Tarkovsky, having recently left Russia, wanted an actor to convey his poignant longing for his homeland, his “nostalgia,” he chose Erland Josephson. It is Josephson’s face which makes him so effective on film, that bearlike aspect, his ability to look lost and forlorn, to convey a sense of suffering and bewilderment, in spite of his bluff exterior. (via)
Ingrid Bergman complained about this piece of music..
“Why are you such a bore when you write, Ingmar? Otherwise you can be really funny.” She listened to
the Chopin prelude, which was to be a culmination of the first act of the film. “God in heaven, is that dull bit of
music to be played twice? Ingmar, you’re crazy. The audience will fall asleep. You might at least have chosen something beautiful and a little shorter. That bit’s so tedous, it makes me yawn my head off.” (Magic Lantern page 183)
Ingrid and Ingmar fought and made up and in the end Ingrid gave in. By this time her cancer was progressing “she faced her illness with anger and impatience. She was extremely disciplined in the studio” Ingmar wrote. (Magic Lantern 185)
Autumn Sonata trailer
Watch this documentary – on her birthday.. Ingrid Bergman was born on Aug 29, 1915 and died on her birthday Aug 29, 1982.
Ingrid Bergman on youtube (her story narrated by her two daughters Pier and Isabella) Ingrid’s mother died when she was three and her father who was photographer died when she was a teenager.
Happy birthday Elliot Gould – August 29, 1938
Gould and David Carradine are the only Hollywood actors to appear in Ingmar Bergman film.
Elliot Gould loves it and Ingmar Bergman hated the Touch. (The Playlist)
Ingrmar Bergman on Touch (youtube)
Now we are told that Karin Bergman is not Ingmar Bergman’s biological mother. His biographer will have to postpone and do more research. (On last Mother’s day post from this blog, Bergman’s complicated relationship with his mother was explored by looking at some of his films)
Bergman switched at birth here
and Mrs Karin Bergman
The first sentences from the Magic Lantern by Ingmar Bergman.
When I was born in 1918, my mother has Spanish influenza. I was in a bad way and was baptized as
a precaution at the hospital. One day the family was visited by the old house doctor, who looked at me and said
“He’s dying of undernourishment.”
Of his mother Ingmar wrote
Today, as I lean over photographs of my childhood to study my mother’s face thourgh a magnifying glass, I
try to penetrate long vanished emotions. Yes, I loved her and she is very attractive in the photograph, with her thick centre-parted hair above a broad forehead, her soft oval face, gentle sensual mouth, her warm unaffected gaze below dark shapely eye-brows, her small strong hands.
Ingmar Bergman and Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers did not show up in his memoir The Magic Lantern. Peter was a strange man who did not seem to know himself.
Various reviewers noted Bergman’s faithfulness to Strindberg and the naturalistic elements on the one hand, yet also pointed out that the production worked its way down from the naturalistic surface to culminate on an almost expressionist level. A number of critics also noted the intensive psychological interplay that characterised the performance, yet opinions were divided as to how well this worked, and who was the real centre of attention.
August Strindberg was born on Jan 22 1849.
“Harriet Andersson in Monika is one of the miracles of cinema. She embodies once and for all youth, beauty, freedom, rebellion. I see her as pure poetry. When I was shooting Cold Water I was inspired by one shot in Monika, when she runs holding the piece of meat she’s just stolen.” Olivier Assayas from Bampfa
Assayas on Bergman (I don’t think this book is translated into English.)
When I did Conversations with Bergman it was an extraordinary experience for a young film-maker to be confronted with one of the great masters. (via)
For me, the defining moment with Bergman was when I made my second film, A Winter’s Child, and realised that what interested me in film was filming actors. I became fascinated with the process of what was happening on the face. I had a vague notion that this had something to do with Bergman(via)
To me, the Bergman style began to gel with Summer with Monika. Before that, the films he was making were like very good American films. But there seemed to be some kind of break with Monika, and after that it drifted into the emergence of that great poetic style. Woody Allen, Back from the Cold, Guardian.
Harriet Andersson and I have worked together all through the years. She is unusually strong but vulnerable person, with a streak of brilliance in her gifts. Her relationship to the camera is straight and sensual. She is also technically superb and can move like lightening from the most powerful empathy to conveying emotions: her humour is astringent but never cynical: she is a lovely person and one of my dearest friends. – The Magic Lantern, Ingmar Bergman page 170
Godard said that “It is the saddest shot in the history of the cinema.” And was truly a strange and risky shot, but the result is stupendous: what a look, at the same time mysterious and full of meaning, clear and obscure, straight to the camera: outrageous. (Jose Monteiro)
Jeanne Moreau and Jean Paul Belmondo in Moderate Cantabile directed by Peter Brook, an adaptation of a story by Marguerite Duras.
See “on the bench” from Moderate Cantabile (youtube)
A selected list from films competing for the Cannes Festival 1960
L’avventura, The Virgin Spring, Kagi,
La Dolce Vita, Moderate Cantabile,
Never on Sunday, Sons and Lovers, Le Trou.
Henry Miller was a jurist (Henry Miller blog post here).
(What a line up! The previous year, Hiroshima Mon Amour and The 400 Blows blew everyone away.)
And the winner of the Palme D’or is! (Click to find out.)
L’Avventura and Kagi received Special Jury Prizes, and The Virgin Spring received a special homage award. Jean Moreau and Melina Mercuri both received Best actress awards.
See the striking image from The Virgin Spring
The rape scene in the forest is of an almost unbearable brutality. I’ve never seen anything like it. But the film is more poetic than realistic, and very pure, almost chaste, in spite of the rape. From Henry Miller blog
Ingmar Bergman was heavily criticized for being stuck in morality fables, i.e. The Seventh Seal. After this medieval tale, The Virgin Spring, Bergman entered a new, more experimental phase of film making, with films like Persona and Scenes From a Marriage.
Ang Lee says that when he first saw The Virgin Spring as an 18-year-old in Taiwan, it “dumbfounded” and “electrified” him. He stayed in the screening room to view it a second time, and “life changed afterward”. (see him on youtube)
Henry Miller himself was partial to Kagi (An adaptation of a Tanizaki novel directed by Kon Ichikawa.) But he was a good team player and went along with the rest to vote for La Dolce Vita.
Sons and Lovers was Jack Cardiff’s best film. Dean Stockwell played against such heavyweights as Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller.
More on Jean Moreau and Henry Miller, read here.
BERGMAN: We artists represent the most serious things—life and death—but it is all a game.
A good intellectual, in my opinion, is one who has trouble with his emotions. He must doubt his intellect, have fantasies, and be powerfully emotional. I meet many fishermen and farmers on the island, who are completely free because their lives are so tough and close to them that they are extremely verbal. They are often crazy, but they are sure of themselves because they know their profession. And I always only work with actors who are—in a special way—self-possessed.
Film work is a powerfully erotic business; the proximity of actors is without reservations, the mutual exposure is total. The intimacy, devotion, dependency, love, confidence and credibility in front of the camera’s magical eye become a warm, possibly illusory security. The strain, the easing of tension, the mutual drawing of breath, the moment of triumph, followed by anticlimax: the atmosphere is irresistibly charged with sexuality.
It took me many years before I at last learnt that one day the camera would stop and the lights go out. (page 169 – 170, The Magic Lantern by Ingmar Bergman)
No one made film like him. (Rick Moody and others on guardian tribute.)
“How I take my walk depends on the winds,” he says. “I have staked out four different routes. In May-June I cannot walk on the shore; the birds are breeding and then it’s pure Hitchcock if you go near them.”
A housekeeper comes in for three hours a day, cooking dinner according to a strict rotation. Bergman makes breakfast and lunch himself.
“At three o’clock in the afternoon I watch films,” he says. He has his own movie theatre stocked with 4,500 video cassettes. And every year he chooses between 150 and 200 reels—real film reels—at the Film Institute, which are driven by truck down to Fårö. From On Bergman, loneliness and time on his handless clock (Clock image from Alec Soth)
Francois Truffaut “His female characters are infinitely subtle, while his male characters are conventions.
Orson Wells “He’s far more foreign to me than the Japanese.”
Fellini called him a milk brother. Olivier Assayas “If I had to define where Bergman’s legacy is, I would say everywhere in French cinema.” From the view on Bergman
I would not have made any of my films or written scripts such as Taxi Driver had it not been for Ingmar Bergman – Paul Schrader
Imagine it! Bergman! Dead! Wasn’t he my first vision of what it was to be an artist? (Spurious)
Bergman saved his best work for the stage. Certainly everybody sitting in my row at the Edinburgh theater believed it, that night in the summer of 1986. (Michael Phillips)
“We Swedes are so often described through the eyes of Ingmar Bergman that we have to say, ‘no, we’re not like that.'”
From a recent article on Ingmar Bergman.
Magic, Wonder, And Even Ghosts: Fanny And Alexander’s Christmas by recently departed Teresa Duncan (Wit of the Staircase)
Ingmar was a Melancholic Workaholic (Cancer/Horse)
Face to face (from Ingmar Bergman site)
A genius of cinematography with an outstanding feeling for light.
Born Sven Vilhem Nykvist on 3 December 1922 in Moheda, Kronobergs län, the son of non-conformist missionaries to Africa.
When Ingmar and I made Winter Light (1963), which takes place in a church on a winter day in Sweden, we decided we should not see any shadow in it at all because there would be no logical shadow in that setting. Read more here (Shooting With Ingmar Bergman: A Conversation with Sven Nykvist)
The trailer for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (Sven did that one as well!)
As a rule, however, it was Tarkovskij’s own visions that counted even if he at times had a hard time communicating them, partly due to the language barrier – he had to constantly work through an interpreter – but primarily due to the fact that he first and foremost wanted to communicate emotions, moods, atmosphere. By images, not by words. He wanted to impart a soul to objects and nature. Here he actually went further than Bergman ever did.
Sven directed “Oxen” (from In the Company of light)
Sven was a father figure to Lasse Hallstrom with whom he made several films most famously What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).