“To feel. To trust the feeling. I long for that”

He is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of all time… 

Bergman_004 Foto Bengt Wanselius © Bengt Wanselius.jpg

The king of Sweden Ingmar Bergman born 14th July 1918, was a Swedish director, writer, and producer best known for his film works, such as Persona, Seven Seals and Fanny and Alexander, Bergman also accomplished theatre and radio, he directed sixty films, over 170 plays and documentaries for cinematic release, for, most of which he wrote.

Philip French refers to Bergman, as one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century.

Bergman’s early film career began in 1941, writing scripts, He usually wrote his films and screenplays, months before starting the actual process of writing, he was very critical of his own work he stresses the importance, however his major accomplishment was in 1941 for his powerful film Torment and then Bergman went on to achieved worldwide success with the film Smiles of a Summer night.

I shall remember this moment: the silence, the twilight, the bowl of strawberries, the bowl of milk. Your faces in the evening light.[...] I shall carry this memory carefully in my hands as if it were a bowl brimful of fresh milk. It will be a sign to me, and a great sufficiency.
— Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal

His films usually deal with mortality, loneliness, religious faith, and sexual presence in the background, however in an interview at the Playboy mansion in 1964 Bergman states the manifestation of sex is very important and particular to me, he then goes on to say I don’t want to make merely intellectual films. 

Far more than most filmmakers, Bergman focused on the experiences and emotional lives of women. The first of Bergman’s films to focus entirely on the experiences of a woman was SUMMER INTERLUDE (1951), which focuses on a ballerina who is suddenly reminded of her joyous relationship with an admirer years earlier. 

Throughout Bergman films I noticed that his female characters are usually more in touch with their sexuality then men, this was something that caught my attention and intrigued me. Persona is a great example of this as we see two women sexually interact. Drawing on his own experiences and emotions, Bergman was a fearless explorer of human psychology.

Bergman’s refining narrative and visual style in Seven Seal, was most interesting there seemed to be an obsession with humanizing death, which led to misconceptions of whether he was interested in humans, confronting their mortality, that led to a broader fascination, or is he looking into the complexity of life itself?

It’s been a decade since the Swedish film director and to mark his century of film the BFI are showing his works over the course of three months, (running from Jan to March) A fascinating collaboration between the BFI, the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, The Swedish Film Institute, SF Studios and The Ministry of Culture Sweden, to include virtually everything Bergman wrote for the screen. His legacy is “vast” and, according to his former partner and collaborator, Liv Ullmann, he is “one of the most influential and creative icons” in cinema history.

By Louise White, Editor at Large @ Asset Intelligence Newspaper