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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ingmar Bergman's LiveJournal:

Sunday, January 14th, 2007
8:15 am
Happy birthday Harriet Andersson
She is 75 today.

She is my favourite (along with Ingrid Thulin) Bergman's actresses.

This is what Bergman wrote about her in his book 'Laterna magica':

"Harriet Andersson and I have worked together all through the years. She is an 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 lightning from the most powerful empathy to conveying sober emotions; her humour is astringent but never cynical; she is a lovely person and one of my dearest friends."

Monday, December 18th, 2006
9:31 am
Ingmar Bergman on his film 'Winter light'.
Hello, I am new to this community. Some time ago I saw the film 'Winter light', now it is one of my personal Bergman's favourites (I also love Cries and Whispers, Autumn Sonata and Wild Strawberries; Persona is the film I liked much less, it is not only strikingly filmed but genuinely profound, just too distant and cerebral in my opinion).

I read some old Bergman's interview where he talks about his 'Faith' trilogy, and he confirms what some people here said - that 'Winter light' is a film about love. I liked the way he expressed it:

Monday, August 21st, 2006
7:57 pm
Wild Strawberies
Hi, I'm new. I admit, I've only had the privilege of seeing one Bergman film - Wild Strawberries. One of his less known films? I watched it for a class in college and had to write an essay about it. Even now, I find the film and Victor Sjostrom's performance mesmerizing. Sometimes when I'm driving around, a scene from the film would visualize in head as if involuntarily like a ghost.
Monday, March 27th, 2006
10:02 am
This community seems pretty dead, but it's worth a shot...

I have decided to write about Sven Nykvist in a paper for my film-class. I really have no idea what is so special about his way of filming. I'd love some help! Just a few comments to get me going, you know... Thanks!
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006
3:56 am
virgin spring on criterion tuesday!
Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
1:46 am
I've noticed this community is pretty dead, but thought I may attempt to liven it up. This is something I wrote earlier, just to show people why I'm excited about seeing Saraband tomorrow. It kind of explains how I found Bergman and what he means to me. Just thought someone here may be interested. I sure hope so.

My Bergman spielCollapse )
Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
1:31 pm
We've been having a Bergman festival here lately. Some very brief thoughts on those we've seen so far, all of which have been first times for me:

Cries and Whispers:
Incredibly beautiful, obviousl, with obscene death in the middle of it. I've never seen a movie that looked so hard at one death. There's the long death scene at the end of Madame Bovary (the one with Isabelle Huppert) but that's dramatically driven and makes a simple point. This one goes on forever and is as awful as it can be, even worse for slowing down at times and then returning. Then there's the love between the dying woman and the servant in the midst of the poisoned family. That love echoes the death somehow, like the death, too, is one pure thing in this cold, decadant world.

Wild Strawberries:
Piercingly sad, especially at the end, which came as a shock and made us both cry, but what's the deal with the ridiculous "teenagers"? The guys look like they're about 35 and the girl (Bibi) is unbelievably irritating.

The Passion: (I'll stick to the Swedish title too)
This is my favorite of the three. The faces on these actors: Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson, and Max von Sydow, are just so beautiful, so totally enchanting and deep and gorgeous. And somehow I found it the most narratively engaging, though the story is so vague and disrupted. I do think poliphilo down there is right about the Christ in the background, an tragic, subtle story happening behind the main story. But what to make of the dead animals? I still want the mystery solved! I was betting it was Eva for a while, all twisted up in her unhappiness, but now it seems it isn't anyone, just the vicious background to the arguments and compromises and intolerance that make up our lives.
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004
9:31 am
A Lesson In Love
A Lesson in Love (1954) is Bergman's stab at a sex comedy of the kind that Hollywood was making at the time with actors like Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Of course Bergman wants to add a layer of poetry to the formula. The result is an odd melange of styles, not altogether successful, but still pleasantly entertaining. It's also quite funny in parts.

Harriet Andersson plays the daughter. When she's on screen it's a different movie, deeper, troubling- a foreshadowing of In a Glass Darkly. What a wonderful actress she is!
Monday, August 2nd, 2004
10:09 pm
En Passion aka The Passion of Anna
The Passion of Anna is not the passion of Anna. That title was wished on the movie by American distributors who wanted to suggest it was a Swedish sex romp. The original title is simply En Passion.

We've had the Passion according to Mark, the Passion according to Matthew, Luke and John. Now here's the Passion according to Ingmar.

So it's a religious film. A Christian film. The symbolism is all in place. First thing we hear are sheep bells. First thing we see are sheep.

But if it's a Passion there ought to be a Christ. Is Anna a Christ? Hardly. She's an uptight god-botherer. Is Andreas a Christ? This is slightly more plausible; the first we see of him he's doing carpentry- but he's a carpenter who does a botched job- therefore a false Christ. And is there really anything Christ-like about his anomie and self-contempt?

No, Bergman is playing a game with us. He has hidden his Christ among the supporting cast. The main characters overlook him and because we have been directed/misdirected to concentrate on them, we the audience miss him too.

He is a good man (explicitly a good Samaritan who saves Andreas' life) who is falsely accused, and then commits suicide after being roughed up and humiliated by vigilantes.

They know not what they do.

And that's what the film's about. The foreground figures are so engrossed in their own trivial sufferings that they miss the significance of what is going on in their midst. I've seen medieval and renaissance paintings and carvings that make the same point. Jesus hangs on the cross and at the foot of it a mass of ordinary people carry on with their utterly ordinary lives.

Anna has a dream. A young man is being hustled away to execution. She falls at the feet of the young man's mother and is pushed away. She doesn't get it. Neither do we.

As the hanged man lies on the bed a shaft of sunlight suddenly illuminates his face.

A Passion is a baffling, frustrating experience. Why are we being asked to spend so much time with these infuriatingly self-absorbed characters? It seems hopeless, pointless, the most gratuitously depressing of all Bergman's films. But that's because we share the characters obtuseness. Like them, we're missing what's in plain view.

There is goodness in the world, there is hope. It has taken the form of a bronchitic old man with a history of mental illness.

Remember the Zeffirelli Jesus of Nazareth with Robert Powell? At an early stage in the planning of that project Bergman was approached to direct. He said he'd like to do a modern dress version on Faro. The producers and backers swiftly lost interest.

History records that that movie was never made.

Oh, but it was.
Sunday, August 1st, 2004
8:30 pm
Any one been in recently? (looks round, sniffs the air) hmm, smells kinda musty.

Just seen Shame for the first time. I was laughing out loud for the first half hour or so. After that the hilarity faded away. Here are some random thoughts....

Wow. A Bergman movie with explosions! Lots of them too.

A Vietnam era film. But the war it looks like is the Balkans war. Prophetic, huh?

There are echoes of Godard's Weekend. I'm thinking that B will have seen Weekend and this is his response. What he's saying is "screw your politics. I want to know about the people."

This is one of the few war films to tell it from the civilian perspective, one of the few war films that's utterly free of machismo.

Liv Ullman is wonderful. It can't be said too often. Liv Ullman is wonderful.
Wednesday, July 14th, 2004
12:23 pm
Autumn Sonata

Höstsonaten - Autumn Sonata (1978)

Directed by:   Ingmar Bergman

Writing credits: Ingmar Bergman

Cast (in credits order)

Ingrid Bergman .... Charlotte

Liv Ullmann .... Eva

Lena Nyman .... Helena

Halvar Björk .... Viktor

Marianne Aminoff .... Charlotte's private secretary

Arne Bang-Hansen .... Uncle Otto

Gunnar Björnstrand .... Paul

Erland Josephson .... Josef

Georg Løkkeberg .... Leonardo

Mimi Pollak .... Piano instructor

Linn Ullmann .... Eva as a child

rest of cast listed alphabetically

Eva von Hanno .... Nurse (uncredited)

Knut Wigert .... Professor (uncredited)

A wonderful, bleak film made, during Ingmar Bergman's self emposed exile, in Norway. 

The most amazing thing about this film, for me, is the way Bergman can write the relationship between Mother and daughter.  During the night-time scene when a few home truths are told between Charlotte & Eva - with Lena in the background showing the result of these 'hidden' feelings - I found myself nodding  in agreement with Eva.

I, myself, am only a daughter and not a mother but have come to realise over the past few years how I too, would have passed my angst on (and am grateful not to have any children), as it was passed on to me.

It shows me how this man, who surrounded himself with women, understood - and more so listened - to them.

A wonderful film.  I was surprised to find that it was made in between - A Serpent's Egg - a horrible film (imho) and The Life of Marionettes - which isn't brilliant either. 

Is it because he was back in his beloved Northern Europe - it was filmed in Norway, with it's familiar weather, countryside and rivers? 

Current Mood: content
Tuesday, July 13th, 2004
5:07 pm
Autumn Sonata
Bergman v Bergman- only to characterize it that way is to overlook the extent to which it belongs to Liv Ullman. A very brave movie. Minimalist. Talking heads and long speeches.

The generosity of Gunnar Bjornstrand and Erland Josephson- neither of whom say a word. Bjornstrand has one brief scene at the end of the film, Josephson only appears in long-shot and is all but unrecognizable. I guess they thought it an honour to appear in such a special project.
Sunday, July 11th, 2004
6:50 pm
To Joy
Bergman made quite a lot of films before he really became Bergman. We've just been watching To Joy- a clumsy apprentice piece with flashes of that good old Swedish angst. A violinist's wife has been blown up in an accident with a paraffin stove- and he remembers their sometimes joyful, sometimes rocky marriage. Victor Sjostrom (Wild Strawberries) has a supporting role and there's a terrific episode of marital hell that looks forward to Scenes From A Marriage. The autobiographical element is strong and the male lead is a self-flagellating portrait of the artist as dickweed.
Saturday, July 10th, 2004
8:10 pm
The Magician aka The Face
Not my favourite Bergman, though I believe it's Woody Allen's.
Well, that makes sense, because it's a comedy- a farce with philosophical trappings- and perhaps the closest thing to a Woody Allen film that B has made.

It seems a little forced to me. A little calculated. B has his demons well under control. Look, how prettily they dance.

I love the old woman. Naima Wifstrand. For me she's the star.
Saturday, June 26th, 2004
10:24 am
New DVD Releases
For the attention of any Brits who may be watching:

MGM are bringing out a number of previously unavailable Bergman movies on DVD. Titles include, Hour of the Wolf, The Shame and The Passion of Anna (the so-called Faro trilogy.)

The release date is August 2.
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004
10:40 am
Ingmar Lays an Egg
Bergman has made some very bad films.

I put it down to ambition. He has always been experimental. I've never been quite able to decide whether Persona is the greatest movie of all time or pretentious, studenty art-wank.

Note to film-makers of the future. Camera-tricks always date. The tricks in Persona looked fabulous at the time. The split-screen of the two joined faces- oh god! Now I'm more conscious of the camera wobble.

The Serpents Egg is one of the worst. Ingmar sets out to show us that Nazi Germany was a BAD thing. Well yes, Ingmar, it certainly was.

And much as I admire him in Kill Bill, David Carradine is just not up to being a Bergman leading man.

In The Magic Lantern our man writes about attending a Nazi rally as a teenager and being bowled over by Hitler. Now if he had chosen to film that story instead...
Saturday, June 19th, 2004
11:08 am
The Merry Swede

They have him wrong. Ingmar isn't gloomy. Winter Light is as bleak as it gets, but, as craftyailz points out, it's a love story- and even, if  my reading is correct, one with a happy ending.

Then there are the comedies. Smiles of a Summer's Night is Mozartian, Wildean, Feydeauesque. A delightful film.

And is there a richer and more authentic picture of a happy (well, mainly happy) family than the first chapter of Fanny and Alexander? I can remember childhood Christmases like that.

Friday, June 18th, 2004
6:23 pm
The Seventh Seal - Det Sjunde inseglet (1957)

Ingmar Bergman also plays Trämålning

Credited Cast

Gunnar Björnstrand -- Jöns, squire

Bengt Ekerot -- Death

Nils Poppe -- Jof

Max von Sydow -- Antonius Block

Bibi Andersson -- Mia, Jof's wife

Inga Gill -- Lisa, blacksmith's wife

Maud Hansson -- Witch

Inga Landgré -- Karin, Block's Wife

Gunnel Lindblom -- Girl

Bertil Anderberg -- Raval

Anders Ek -- The Monk

Åke Fridell -- Blacksmith Plog

Gunnar Olsson -- Church Painter

Erik Strandmark -- Jonas Skat

Rest of cast listed alphabetically

Siv Aleros .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Sten Ardenstam .... Knight (uncredited) - Harry Asklund .... The landlord (uncredited) -Benkt-Åke Benktsson .... Merchant at the inn (uncredited) -Catherine Berg .... Young woman kneeling for the flagellants (uncredited) - Lena Bergman .... Young woman kneeling for the flagellants (uncredited) - Tor Borong .... Farmer at the inn (uncredited) - Gudrun Brost .... Woman at inn (uncredited) - Bengt Gillberg .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Lars Granberg .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Gunlög Hagberg .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Gun Hammargren .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Tor Isedal .... Man (uncredited) - Ulf Johansson .... Knight commander (uncredited) - Tommy Karlsson .... Mikael, Jof and Maria's son (uncredited)  - Uno Larsson .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Lennart Lilja .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Lars Lind .... The young monk (uncredited) - Monica Lindman .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Gordon Löwenadler .... Knight (uncredited) - Mona Malm .... Young pregnant woman (uncredited) - Josef Norman .... Old man at the inn (uncredited) - Gösta Prüzelius .... Man (uncredited) - Helge Sjökvist .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Georg Skarstedt .... Flagellant (uncredited)  - Ragnar Sörman .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Fritjof Tall .... Man (uncredited) - Lennart Tollén .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Nils Whiten .... Old man addressed by the monk (uncredited) - Caya Wickström .... Flagellant (uncredited) - Karl Widh .... Man with crutches (uncredited)

For me this is Bergman's best movie (that I've seen) whilst it is ia very sad tale of the plague and the duel between man and Death, acted out as a chess game, it is also a very funny movie.  Although in the end Death wins the knight has managed to help a young couple and their child escape his notice. 

Gunnar Björnstrand's cat-like actions behind his master's back are witty whilst his lack of awe shows two men who are comfortable with one another's company. 

A film I would recommend to all - don't be put off - as I was - by expecting it to be a sad movie.  I can only thank my mother half for cajoling me into watching it (he wanted an excuse to buy the dvd!)

Current Mood: grateful
6:07 pm
My First Bergman

Nattvardsgästerna (Winter Light) (1963)

Written & Directed by Ingmar Bergman 

Complete credited cast:

Ingrid Thulin -- Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher

Gunnar Björnstrand -- Tomas Ericsson, Pastor

Gunnel Lindblom -- Karin Persson

Max von Sydow -- Jonas Persson

Allan Edwall -- Algot Frövik,   Sexton

Kolbjörn Knudsen - Knut Aronsson, Warden

Olof Thunberg - Fredrik Blom,   Organist

Elsa Ebbesen - Magdalena Ledfors, Widow

Rest of cast listed alphabetically :  Lars-Olof Andersson .... Young boy (uncredited) - Eddie Axberg .... Johan Strand, Schoolboy (uncredited)  - Tor Borong .... Johan Åkerblom, Homesteader (uncredited)  -  Lars-Owe Carlberg .... Parish Constable (uncredited)  -  Ingmari Hjort .... Persson's daughter (uncredited)  -  Stefan Larsson .... Persson's son (uncredited) - Christer Öhman .... Young boy (uncredited) - Johan Olafs .... Gentleman with Horse (uncredited) - Bertha Sånnell .... Hanna Appelblad, Baker with Daughter (uncredited )

This was my first Bergman movie, and I loved it.  I'd been told it was 'an all-time classic' which put me off seeing it but once I did I was hooked on Bergman.  For me, it is a film about love.  The Pastor lost his God when his wife died, his church emptied and he became a pitiful creature.  He is shown here as being physically ill too. 

When he is visited by Jonas Persson is it a delusional, fever dream, or does Jonas turn up - or is Jonas already dead and his ghost visits?

That church too - the altar and the crucifix (does it turn up in Fanny & Alexander or is it one like it).   A movie worth seeing for the church alone.


Current Mood: content
4:46 pm
Celebrating Bergman
The greatest film maker of them all?

Silly question really. But certainly one of the 20th century's essential artists-

And the creator of such masterpieces as

Smiles of a Summer's Night
Wild Strawberries
The Seventh Seal
Winter Light
The Silence
Cries and Whispers
Scenes from a Marriage
Fanny and Alexander

Odd that there hasn't been a community dedicated to him before. Well, now there is.

Current Mood: gloomy
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