"Lo más importante en mis cintas son las actrices. El universo de las mujeres es mi mundo", señaló INGMAR BERGMAN
The master: Ingmar Bergman 1918 – 2007
By Paul Schrader, film director and screenwriter of ‘Taxi Driver’
Published: 31 July 2007
I would not have made any of my films or written scripts such as Taxi Driver had it not been for Ingmar Bergman.
His death, at the age of 89, may not have been a surprise. He was an old man. But what he has left is a legacy greater than any other director. He made film-making a serious and introspective enterprise. No one had been able to pull that off until he showed up. I really wasn’t that interested in being a film-maker, except in the way that Bergman redefined what you could be as a film-maker.
I think the extraordinary thing that Bergman will be remembered for, other than his body of work, was that
he probably did more than anyone to make cinema a medium of personal and introspective value. Movies by nature are, of course, very commercially driven and very accessible. No one really used cinema as private personal expression in that way. Bergman showed that you could actually do movies that were personal introspections and have them seen by general audiences.
For an entire generation, starting in the 1960s, it was a whole new way to see the very nature of cinema. It is impossible for anyone of my generation not to have been influenced by Bergman. That is just a matter of fact. He cut too wide a path down the history of cinema not to influence everybody. I can remember vividly my first taste of a Bergman film. Through a Glass Darkly, the first of Bergman’s trilogy of films with Winter Light and The Silence, when I was about 17, at our local little cinema in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while I was at college. It was probably the fourth or fifth serious film I had ever seen and it just took me unawares. I had no idea that movies could be a serious enterprise.
He has a handful of masterpieces, but the film that stands above all the others is Persona. He has done a lot of visceral, painful work – even his last film, Saraband, is extraordinary – but Persona really brings together all his personal demons, as well as his relationships with women.
It’s not like we have lost an ongoing voice. His body of work was completed. So we are losing one of the saints in the pantheon, which is sad to note, but it is actually an occasion to appreciate what has been left behind.
Not all his films were great. I’m not a big fan of the family reminiscence stuff which is Fanny and Alexander. I wasn’t knocked out by the early domestic comedies such as Smiles of a Summer Night. After The Virgin Spring in 1959 and Through a Glass Darkly in 1961, then it really starts getting interesting. Persona was the pinnacle of that. Coming as it did in 1966, it was the great seminal film during the great seminal years of the acme of cinema. Once you got into that trilogy of Persona, The Hour of the Wolf and The Shame, it’s just incredible. He reinvented himself in 1973 with Scenes from a Marriage, then he went back to the theme for Saraband, another major piece of work, in 2003.
Time magazine had a wonderful opening line in its review of Saraband. "He’s old. He’s old fashioned. He’s out of date. How dare Ingmar Bergman make a great movie."
There are a lot of directors who are poets behind a camera. Bergman is more of the metaphysician behind the camera. Persona was his boldest film – and the Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist, who was shooting the films, did a lot of very interesting work in that film such as over exposures, letting stuff burn out, the way that light and dark contrasted in ways that were previously considered unacceptable and breaking some of those rules.
I was a big Bergman fan so I would tend to see each of his films the first day they were released if I was in a city where they were being shown. I do remember the anticipation of going to that first show the first day. He obviously played a role in my choice to be a critic and then to be a film-maker, and in my decision to take film seriously.
Last of the greats
* Woody Allen: "He was a friend and certainly the finest film director of my lifetime."
* Richard Attenborough: "The world has lost one of its very greatest film-makers. He taught us all so much throughout his life."
* Lars von Trier" "I am proud to say he treated me exactly like his other children – with no interest whatsoever."
* Bille August, Danish director: "He was the last big director left. The three big ones for me were Kurosawa, Fellini and Bergman. The two others had already passed and now Ingmar has also left us. He leaves a big vacuum behind. He was such an incredible, unusually bright person."
‘No one made films like him’
Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish film-maker who died yesterday, transfixed and inspired generations of cinema-goers. Here, some of his greatest admirers explain why he mattered
Tuesday July 31, 2007
As an artist, Ingmar Bergman drew not just on the cinematic tradition, but on the great traditions of European art and philosophy. People such as Ibsen and Chekhov, Thomas Mann and Nietzsche are all there as influences. He drew on three centuries of European literature. Nobody else in the history of cinema was temperamentally capable of doing that. He was unflinching in his need to talk about the fundamental questions of life in a way that cinema didn’t do before him and has hardly done since. That is why he was, to me, the most significant person ever to make movies.
There was a moment when he seemed to me among that grand European tradition of directors like Godard, Truffaut and Fellini. In retrospect, we can see that he was singular and unyielding. His work is so incredibly bleak. He made just one Hollywood film [1971’s Beröringen, also known as The Touch, starring Elliott Gould, Bibi Andersson, Sheila Reid and Max von Sydow], and that was a disaster because he tried to play it light. It was as if he just didn’t have a muscle for comedy.
I’m not noted for my joy as a writer, and so Bergman’s films spoke to my sensibilities. I like the darkness of his films and the spectacular performances of hatred and resentment. There is a TV version of Scenes from a Marriage in which Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson are beating each other up and screaming at each other for what seemed like six hours [the 1974 cinematic release was 167 minutes long; the Swedish TV version on DVD has a running time of 299 minutes]. I couldn’t look away for a second. I found it absolutely riveting, but I have that constitution.
I first experienced Bergman at Brown University when I was thinking of working in the cinema. I did a course in which I saw great films by Godard and Douglas Sirk, and The Seventh Seal. Bergman’s work immediately seemed empowering to me. It’s hard to cite a direct Bergman influence in my writing, but the ambition he manifested in his films to tackle the big issues of God, spirituality, alienation and estrangement really did blaze a path. He was fearless in discussing these questions in cinema even though he ran the risk of being called pretentious. That doggedness, that daring is so rare.
I still have a great regard for Fanny and Alexander, which is a bit lighter than his bleakest films, such as Cries and Whispers or Persona. It combines the rigours of realism – thanks to the cinematography of Sven Nykvist and the costumes – with the register of dreams and fantasies that come to us from folkloric narratives, all in the service of revealing how a young boy comes of age. It’s almost magic realism. In that, it sits alongside Thomas Mann, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz and August Strindberg.
There is no one who can compare to him now. Scorsese has a consistency of vision, so even if Gangs of New York isn’t perfect, it still contributes to an overall canon of Scorsese. It’s the same with Bergman: even his earlier, lesser films constitute part of a great canon. Other film-makers – Truffaut, Tarkovsky, Kieslowski – dealt with great themes, but none with the same consistency of ambition as Bergman.
I’m a huge fan. I’ve just asked someone to rent me Wild Strawberries so I can watch it tonight and have my own private wake. It’s one of my favourite films and it’s so evocative about time and mortality, how it’s fast when you’re old and slow when you’re young. It says so much in so few words.
He deals in metaphor. It’s all very sparse in the dialogue so there’s a lot of room for reflection and imagination in the audience. I recently watched Fanny and Alexander on a long train journey, and the man is a master. Extraordinary that cinema was his hobby and theatre was his profession. I was very sad to hear he had died, although he more than most had prepared for mortality, given that he’d made so many films about it.
I watched Fanny and Alexander three hours ago. I think it’s the best film ever made. I showed it to a person a lot younger than me, and she was in tears, and said it was the best film she’d ever seen. She’s 19 and I was curious to see if it was too slow for her, if it was outdated, but apparently not.
I talked to him some years ago. He was very, very uplifting, a happy man, actually. He was fooling around, very light-spirited, playful. He gave me a lot of good advice, such as how to handle success, and how to handle failure. I remember every word of it. He asked me if I’d decided what to do after my film, and when I said no, he said, "Well you’re fucked," and I said, "Why?" and he said, "One thing that can happen is that you fail, and it won’t be good for your self-confidence. It’s much worse if you have success – you’re absolutely paralysed by it. So you always have to decide your next movie before the opening of the present one." And he was so right. You don’t turn into a career pilot, trying to navigate by success or failure, instead of deciding from your heart.
The thing that interests me as a film-maker, having trouble deciding whether I’m supposed to make Danish movies or English-language movies, is that Bergman stuck to his own project – he made films in Sweden, in Swedish, with his own actors, and instead of trying to become someone by leaving his country, he stayed and made his country something, which is a very proud thing to do. Of course, the world was bigger back then: London and New York were further away. But still, it’s inspirational. I think he’s definitely the biggest inspiration in Scandinavia, ever, in film-making.
Fanny and Alexander was the film that had the biggest emotional impact on me. I saw his first eight or nine movies at film school, and I was a bit bored, because I was restless, and too young. I also think he grew better and better. And then, when I saw Fanny and Alexander a couple of years after film school, I fell completely in love. My main inspiration for Festen was Fanny and Alexander. I admitted to him that I stole a scene from it, and he laughed. And either he or someone else told me that he stole it from The Leopard – the one where they’re dancing round the house. It’s a common tradition in both Denmark and Sweden, so it’s like stealing a tradition, really. But still, it was definitely a robbery.
The thing I liked about Fanny and Alexander is that I got to know a whole family as if they really existed. Those are people I’ll never forget. I’ll always relate to them. I’ll always remember the weird uncle farting. It’s a piece of life, really, and that’s what I adore.
One afternoon a teacher decided to use double general studies to show us The Seventh Seal. I saw Max von Sydow playing chess with Death on the beach (the most heavy metal image ever committed to film) and knew I’d try to see everything this director had made. I haven’t yet, but Bergman has popped up at several key moments in my life, always as a revelation. I saw Scenes from a Marriage in a stifling flat and asked myself what I was doing with the woman beside me. Von Sydow, playing the tormented artist in Hour of the Wolf (more compact, more threatening, the name, in Swedish, as Vargtimmen), said: "A minute can seem like an eternity – it’s beginning now," and I realised something was being taught to me about making art: here was a minute of screen time, an experience shared between the characters and the audience. Bergman was good because he was so literal, able to put things down so precisely.
I was brought up on Ingmar Bergman during my days in Cambridge. He was the god of original cinema, of thoughtful cinema, of creative cinema, and he was an enormous influence on my life. He was not only a film genius but he was unique. No one made films like him, before or since. The brooding intensity, coupled with a fantastic visual style – it was mesmerising.
I remember when Smiles of a Summer Night was on at a small cinema on the outskirts of Cambridge. The owner said: "No one’s going to come to see it." But there was a queue around the cinema because there was a scene with a naked woman running along a beach for 15 seconds. In those days  it was revolutionary. A lot of people who would never otherwise see an Ingmar Bergman film were standing in line.
My favourite of his films is The Seventh Seal – it has this wonderful Gothic symbolism. It was not one of my main influences, but it definitely went into my memory bank.
You would never get anyone like him today. We have moved into a more mechanistic, flash-bang-wallop type of cinema and art cinema is very difficult to get made.
I had been playing Mrs Elvsted in his Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre. His PA rang to say he wanted me in his film. When I realised she wasn’t joking, I was thrilled: I’d have gone anywhere to work with him again. I think I’m the only Briton to have been in a Bergman film. It was a small part in Ingmar’s first English-language film, The Touch, with Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow and Elliott Gould. Oddly, I played Elliott’s sister: she was tall, dark and Jewish; I’m small, Scottish and fair.
I had one scene, in which Andersson visits me. I’m an alcoholic and I have a problem with my hands. On set Ingmar asked me: "What would an English apartment look like when you’re about to move house?" I said: "I might have somewhere to put the bottle, a chair, some curtains I’ve only half removed." He said: "Yes. That’s what we’ve done. What would you say if somebody rang the doorbell?" I said: "Come in. I can’t make you a cup of tea." We improvised the scene like that."
I have a photo of him just before he said "Action." He has his hands on my shoulders and intense concentration in his eyes. You can see he’s putting his energy into my body and I’m receiving it. Six months earlier I met him for dinner. I asked if he wanted to talk about my part. He said: "No. You know her already." I did – he had written the part for me because he had observed me when I auditioned. I was rather unhappy then and he noticed that.
On set everybody from the prop boys upwards paid attention when a scene was being shot – unusual for film. There was incredible energy on the set. He was the same on Hedda Gabler. We rehearsed from 11am to 4pm with only a 20-minute lunch break so no concentration drop after lunch. He really stretched us. He gave me very helpful notes that said things like "She is a candle that never goes out" and "She has a screen inside her up to her neck." I was extremely fortunate to have worked with Ingmar in both theatre and cinema.
Long before the end, Ingmar Bergman elected to live on a small island off the coast of Sweden. It was a way of saying he was alone with his work and his lovers – and probably no one knew the loneliness better than the lovers, and the children, who saw how he put their smiles, their eyes, their meals, their untidy beds on the screen. They had to live with his ruthless and obsessive use of their smiles, their faces and their youth. It was not unkind, but it was not kind either, in the way of reassurance or loyalty. It told everyone that everything changes, yet remains the same. So he would live on an island and then perhaps the foolish film festivals would stop asking him to come and be honoured. Didn’t they know that making the films was the only thing that kept him alive or anywhere near calm?
The way Bergman’s work and Bergman’s pain were in equation struck me early on and almost by chance. In 1957, he made Wild Strawberries, in which a great man, a professor, is going to a kind of film festival to be honoured for his career. He is Isak Borg, played by Victor Sjostrom (the pioneering figure in the Swedish film industry and Bergman’s mentor). But as he travels toward his honorary degree, so Borg dreams and remembers and feels shocked by his private failures. We can see that he is a cold man attracted to the warmth of others – and I think Bergman saw himself the same way.
Wild Strawberries is a great film, struggling to reconcile inward failure and outward success. I realised that it was the same "story" as a film I had seen two years earlier – Citizen Kane, in which an old man dies and has his last thoughts filled by the same grim debate: was I wretched in all my glory? Maybe all great films say the same thing.
Bergman saw the resemblance between the medieval dance of death and the modern waiting for apocalypse. But that tension was only the larger projection of a small, ordinary anxiety: will love last or betray itself? The director who strikes me most as a direct descendant is Andrei Tarkovsky – the latter’s The Sacrifice is as true a Bergman film as Liv Ullmann’s Faithless. But every great director, every one committed to the work, and prepared to live on an island as opposed to the Beverly Hills Hotel, has surely found themselves making their own variant of a Bergman film.
Cast an eye back over the great Bergman pictures, from Sawdust and Tinsel to Fanny and Alexander, from Cries and Whispers to Smiles of a Summer Night, and this is how you know them – there is hardly a special effect in the canon. Save one: the human face in joy and terror, lost or in flux. For Bergman, the face was always the same: always constant and always fresh.
· Interviews by Aida Edemariam, Stuart Jeffries and Tim Lusher.
Through a glass clearly
Tuesday July 31, 2007
Ingmar Bergman’s work always had, and always will have, its critics. It was too gloomy for many, too unpolitical for some, and too artful for others. Yet with Bergman’s death at the age of 89, after a career in the cinema of some 60 years, there can be no real argument either about the sustained moral achievement of his work or about his importance in the history of cinema in general, of European cinema in particular and of Swedish cinema specifically.
Bergman’s 54 films of various kinds range from the austerity of The Seventh Seal to the intimacy of Smiles of a Summer Night, and from the ruthlessness of Persona to the tenderness of Fanny and Alexander. He made films about childhood, love, pain, art, hardship, death and God. The phrase "lifetime achievement" is one of the most abused in the cinema industry, lavished all too indiscriminately on minor artists of limited range and intermittent inspiration. Yet if any film-maker had a right to such an award, that film-maker was Bergman.
Bergman belonged to an era which took the cinema seriously as an art form, and which thought it was the obligation of the cinema to tell difficult stories and to address troubling issues. His films put actors, their faces and voices at the centre of the screen, because Bergman was from the start a man of the theatre; he nurtured a remarkable succession of great screen actors. He also understood that camera work was an art form in itself, and for much of his career he worked with one of the greatest of all cinematographers, the late Sven Nykvist.
Bergman’s passing is a reminder that serious cinema will only have a place in the artistic world as long as film-makers lay claim to one. When Bergman’s career was at its height, between 1955 and 1980, European art cinema was beyond doubt a central part of the global movie industry. Today that is a questionable claim. Throughout his lifetime Bergman built on the work of earlier Scandinavian film-makers to make Swedish cinema into an independent artistic force of global importance. Yet today few would count Sweden among the great movie-making nations any longer.
Bergman’s career is a reminder that artists are not judged solely by their technique or their ability to shock but by their inner moral honesty and by their inspiration. Bergman understood that the deepest questions about life and death, youth and age, selfishness and kindness, can be answered as well in a single room or on a windswept island as they can in the hubbub of a city. Like Mozart, whom he revered, he knew how to say profound things with great simplicity. Bergman was pessimistic in many ways, but his films have an inner light of humanity that stands as a reprimand to too many of his successors.
Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007
Master of the art of darkness dies at 89
Tuesday July 31, 2007
The great, gaunt magus of European arthouse cinema, Ingmar Bergman, who has died at the age of 89, finally declared that even he found his own films too depressing to watch. But his passing doesn’t leave us any more cheerful. On the contrary: there’s a horrible sense that the world has lost the last film-maker willing or capable of explicitly taking on the big themes: the nature of God and the nature of humanity.
His greatest film is probably Winter Light, in which a suicidally depressed Max Von Sydow confides in his pastor that he read somewhere that the Chinese hate his country and would have no compunction about annihilating its inhabitants. The pastor fatefully fails to reassure his unhappy congregant. The poor working man’s horror has spoken to his own crisis of faith, his own abyss of despair.
It is redolent of the tormented boyhood of Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer in Annie Hall: little Alvy is agonised by the expanding nature of the universe – surely one day it’s going to rip itself apart? A Brooklyn doctor cheerfully reassures Alvy: "It won’t be expanding for billions of years yet, Alvy. And we’ve gotta try to enjoy ourselves while we’re here!"
Very different from the attitude of Bergman’s pastor, crucified by his conviction that the poor childlike flock are indeed on to something with their dimly perceived fears – and that they don’t know the half of it.
Like the pastor, Bergman was concerned with looking the terrible truth full in the face. God is not here: if not non-existent, then he is absent; he has turned his back. And it is hard to know which is the more unbearable.
Bergman himself was the son of a strict Lutheran pastor who beat him and locked him in dark closets. He said he lost his belief at the age of eight, and in his work asked if it is meaningful to behave as if God existed, if we suspect he does not – though did not offer the answer "no" with any certainty.
Winter Light is in some ways the perfect title for a Bergman film, with its connotations of severity, of purity, of religious observance. It was probably the light that he saw all around him in the remote island of Faro where he made his home, and very, very, different from the sensual, exciting neon-ish kind of light that it is Hollywood’s business to convey.
Bergman’s death robs the cinema of an unapologetic high seriousness, sometimes rather stolidly expressed, about the nature of God and the nature of man. Dreyer, Tarkovsky and Kieslowski were film-makers who were comparable, and they are gone.
Bergman, despite his avowed withdrawal from cinema after the triumphant Fanny And Alexander in the 80s, was in fact a working presence until very recently, and in his movie Saraband, made five years ago for television, showed that his artistic muscle and sinew had not deteriorated. His masterpiece The Seventh Seal, with its chess-game with Death, much discussed, admired and spoofed, was re-released last week and it’s completely fresh.
No one makes films like Bergman now; even Woody Allen withdrew years ago from his experiment with the sombre chill of seriousness and prefers light comedy. Of course, Bergman could make comedy himself, as seen in his Smiles Of A Summer Night, but there is always the sense that this comic register is a variant on his darker, tragic idiom – and not a respite from it.
At the end, Bergman was utterly alone. In an age of digital video, reality-TV-influenced post-modern media, his gaunt, ecclesiastical presence was out of time. He had fallen out of fashion long ago, often derided for stiffness, for miserabilism, for elitism.
Really, Bergman has no disciples (no other word will do) in modern Europe or America; in Iranian and African cinema, there is arguably something of Bergman’s steady, un-ironised film-making, though without its explicit, pitiless chill.
Now he is gone: his personal stock may now be diminished a little by more revisionist attention paid to his troubled personal life; he had a number of wives and mistresses, and a definite fondness for casting unfeasibly beautiful young women in his films. His Persona (1966) was an intensely sensual, and very male, investigation of womanhood.
Bergmanolatry is sometimes an excuse for grumpy denunciations of the decline of arthouse cinema, and the decline of any media to support it. But it’s difficult to think of a movie-maker who really does believe in the urgency of moral questions the way Bergman did. This is the end of an era.
· Peter Bradshaw is the Guardian’s film critic
Hacer películas es instintivo para mí, como comer, beber y amar, expresó alguna vez el sueco
Murió el cineasta Ingmar Bergman
Falleció "tranquilo y suavemente", dijo su hija Eva, aunque no aclaró la causa
"Lo más importante en mis cintas son las actrices. El universo de las mujeres es mi mundo", señaló el realizador
JUAN JOSE OLIVARES, AGENCIAS
Murió uno de los directores más importantes en la historia del cine mundial. Ernst Ingmar Bergman se fue a seguir a su amada Ingrid von Rosen (fallecida en 1995) a los 89 años, según informó su hija Eva. La muerte del cineasta se produjo "tranquila y suavemente", dijo, aunque no se precisó la causa.
Bergman esperaba la muerte en la solitaria isla de Farö, en el archipiélago de Gotland, Suecia. "A veces siento la presencia de Ingrid en este lugar", dijo alguna vez el realizador.
La noticia provocó numerosas manifestaciones en los medios locales y la televisión sueca interrumpió sus transmisiones regulares para brindar un homenaje. "Es difícil comprender totalmente la contribución que Ingmar Bergman hizo al cine y drama sueco", señaló en un comunicado, que difundió la embajada de Suecia en México, el primer ministro Fredrik Reinfeldt.
Por su lado, Cissi Edwin, directora ejecutiva del Instituto Sueco de Cine, señaló que la instancia planeaba realizar en una noche de agosto un homenaje, y que invitaría a historiadores de cine y colegas del mundo de la actuación para brindar sus respeto a Bergman.
Cansado de la ciudad
Un día, cansado de la vida en la ciudad, y agobiado por la soledad, el realizador decidió vaciar su departamento y su oficina en el centro dramático, en Estocolmo, y se fue a su isla, donde, aseguraba, se encontraría con el espíritu de su amada Ingrid. "A los demonios no les gusta el aire fresco. Camino todos los días por la playa luego de desayunar. Después, escribo unas horas. Como a las tres de la tarde voy al mar. Para personas desorganizadas como yo, es necesario tener rutinas estrictas como esta", comentó en la última de sus entrevistas a Marie Nyreröd, quien realizó el filme documental La isla de Bergman, en la que el director muestra sus facetas desconocidas.
Bergman vivía muy solitario en la casa de "su isla", misma en la que dejó de respirar. Todos los días manejaba su camioneta hacia una pequeña sala de cine de 15 butacas en la que veía una cinta por día. Era lo que lo mantenía con vida. Aunque en los últimos días se le notaba agobiado. Ya en una silla de ruedas, presenciaba las actividades que la Fundación Bergman y el Instituto Sueco de Cine organizaron para el ciclo La semana de Bergman en Farö, tiempo en el que era visitado por sus familiares. La semana de Bergman es una celebración de seis días, en la que se realizan proyecciones y seminarios. La primera se hizo en 2004.
"En Farö nunca estoy solo. A veces paso el día sin hablar con nadie. Pienso: ‘debo hacer una llamada’, pero no la hago porque hay algo placentero en no hablar con nadie. Es algo que nos regala el silencio, que es maravilloso", comentaba Bergman, cuya obra fílmica (más de 60 años de dirigir, con postulaciones en los festivales más importantes y tres premios Oscar) es parte de la memoria de la humanidad de la UNESCO.
Ingmar Bergman y su soledad en la solitaria isla, que descubrió en 1960, cuando buscaba locaciones para el filme Through a glass darkly (Como en un espejo), el cual le dio su primer Oscar como mejor cinta extranjera. Encontró el set en la isla y en ese momento decidió que algún día viviría en ese lugar. A partir de ahí, rodó siete de sus largometrajes en el sitio. "Farö fue mi amor secreto", escribió Bergman en su autobiografía, Linterna mágica, al hablar del flechazo que sintió en la década de los sesenta por esa isla.
Bergman construyó en la playa una casa de 156 metros. Desde su ventana podía observar las lluvias otoñales, las aves, los animales típicos de la región. Se dice que el día nacional de Farö, es el 4 de julio, cuando normalmente llegan sus hijos, sus nietos y sus ex mujeres a tomarse fotografías con él. Sin duda, esos personajes aislados y solitarios son una constante en las historias del cineasta. Muchas de sus cintas se desarrollan en una isla. Ahora se sabe que es Farö.
Para Bergman "el cine y el teatro son trabajos muy eróticos. Hacer películas es para mí un instinto, una necesidad como comer, beber o amar". Decía siempre que todo es una evocación que se tiene de cuando se es niño: "Me gustaba ir a la casa de mi abuela, donde las reuniones navideñas eran inolvidables. Eran como puestas en escena".
En el intenso documental La isla de Bergman, el cinerrealizador y director teatral contaba lo que marcó su vida creativa. "Cuando era niño, en una celebración de la familia, una tía llegó con un gran regalo. Se trataba de un proyector; para mi sorpresa se lo regaló a mi hermano. A mí me dio un oso de peluche. Fue una gran humillación. Pero en la noche le dije a mi hermano que le cambiaba mi colección de soldados de plomo (unos 150) por el aparato. Creyó que era una extraordinaria idea; aún conservo el proyector, y sirve".
Bergman creó su propio mundo cinematográfico. Un género en sí mismo. En una entrevista de 2001, Bergman dijo a Reuters que los demonios personales lo atormentaron e inspiraron a lo largo de su vida. "Son innumerables, aparecen en los momentos más inconvenientes y crean pánico y terror", señaló en ese momento. "Pero aprendí que puedo dominar las fuerzas negativas y arrearlas a mi carro, entonces pueden trabajar para ventaja mía."
En sus rodajes, intimistas y emocionalmente estresantes, Bergman usaba un equipo de colaboradores casi fijo, pero "lo más importante eran las actrices. El universo de las mujeres es mi mundo", decía. Nombres como los de Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulien o Harriet Andersson figuraban entre sus protagonistas, las cuales también en lo privado tuvieron una relación con el director. Bergman estuvo casado cinco veces.
Influencia en Allen
El director de cine estadunidense Woody Allen, quien se encuentra filmando en España, comentó: "Me entristeció la muerte de Ingmar Bergman. Era un amigo y sin duda el mejor artista cinematográfico de la época que me tocó vivir.
"Me dijo que temía morir en un día muy, pero muy soleado, y no puedo más que esperar que haya estado nublado para fuera como él quería". Allen nunca ocultó su admiración por el estilo cinematográfico de Bergman, y a menudo enviaba guiños con referencias al sueco en sus propias películas.
Leonardo García Tsao
Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007)
Aunque Ingmar Bergman estaba básicamente inactivo en el cine en el último par de décadas -su última película Saraband (2003) fue hecha para la televisión, como su otra media docena de realizaciones desde 1986-, con su muerte desaparece también una de las contadas instancias en que el cine ha explorado con profundidad los misterios del alma humana.
Para un cinéfilo adolescente que se acercó a la obra de Bergman por vez primera en los cineclubes sesenteros -donde su nombre era caballito de batalla- películas como El séptimo sello, Fresas silvestres (ambas de 1957) o El manantial de la doncella (1960), significaban la introducción a un universo totalmente apartado de la concepción que uno tenía del cine.
Aún para estándares del cine de arte de posguerra, la mirada del realizador sueco resultaba mucho más severa que, digamos, la de los otros dos autores que fueron una revelación internacional en ese mismo período, Federico Fellini y Akira Kurosawa. Hasta entonces, uno nunca calculaba que el cine pudiera ofrecer trascendencia metafísica. Reflexionar sobre la angustia existencial, la ausencia de Dios, la imposibilidad de la pareja parecía más propio de otras disciplinas artísticas más serias, la literatura y el teatro, por ejemplo. (Bergman fue también un notable director teatral. Recuerdo que el también fallecido Ludwik Margules se había maravillado de haber visto una de sus representaciones y afirmaba que sus logros cinematográficos palidecían en comparación).
La trayectoria de Bergman seguiría por caminos aún menos convencionales. Su periodo de los años 60, con obras maestras como Luz de invierno (1962), El silencio (1963) y Persona (1966), se prestaba tanto a la interpretación sesuda como al azote garantizado. Pocos títulos en la historia del cine han ostentado una belleza tan austera aunada a un pesimismo devastador, emanado en forma inexorable de su enigmático contenido. (Para encontrar otro autor de similares alcances uno tendría que acudir únicamente al ruso Andrei Tarkovski, a quien Bergman admiraba de manera explícita).
Esa perspectiva se atenuaría un poco hacia la parte final de su obra, en la cual se permitió celebraciones como La flauta mágica (1975) y, sobre todo, Fanny y Alexander (1982), su última obra capital, una emotiva revisión de tono autobiográfico sobre sus temas y preocupaciones primordiales.
Dentro de la fetichización del pasado, inherente a la cinefilia, uno se ha preocupado en conseguir en dvd los títulos de Bergman disponibles en el mercado. Sin embargo, a diferencia de lo que ocurre con -otra vez- Fellini y Kurosawa, la visión repetida de las mismas no se antoja. Las películas de George A. Romero o Tobe Hooper, digamos, no me causan miedo. Las de Bergman sí. Una vez que uno ha rebasado el tostón de años, esa mirada inflexible sobre el vacío de la existencia, la soledad, la vejez y la muerte adquiere una resonancia aún más perturbadora. Ahora le toca a las generaciones nuevas de espectadores buscar esa obra fundamental y ahondar en sus incómodas verdades.
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Los cinéfilos estamos más que de luto; devastados, abatidos, derrumbados, inconsolables sería poco para describir la noticia de la muerte del inmenso Ingmar Bergman. Se va con él un ciclo en sí mismo. No sé realmente cuantas películas de este realizador haya visto; lo que con certeza puedo afirmar, es que cada uno de ellas me dejó un mensaje imborrable. Para mi cada una de sus cintas es como ver un mundo complejo multifacético a través de su ventana; pero con una simplicidad que toca lo cotidiano, sin complicaciones ni falsas pretensiones. La naturaleza humana explorada en lo más profundo de la existencia. En fin, todo lo que pueda alabarlo no va a disminuir el dolor de perder a alguien que nunca se conoció en PERSONA y que, sin embargo, se considera como patrimonio propio, de todos nosotros, de la historia misma. Descanse en PAZ, maestro.
Norwich, G(ran) B(ergman);
Tax evasion charges and exile
1976 was one of the most traumatic years in the life of Ingmar Bergman. On
January 30, 1976, while rehearsing August
Strindberg‘s Dance of Death at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, he was
arrested by two plainclothes police officers, booked like a common criminal,
and charged with income-tax evasion. The impact of the event on Bergman was
devastating. He suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the humiliation and
was hospitalized in a state of deep depression.
The investigation was focused on an alleged 1970 transaction of SEK 500,000
between Bergman’s Swedish company Cinematograf and its Swiss
subsidiary Persona, an entity that was mainly used for the paying of
salaries to foreign actors. Bergman dissolved Persona in 1974 after
having been notified by the Swedish Central Bank and subsequently reported the
income. On March 23,1976,
the special prosecutor Anders Nordenadler dropped the charges against Bergman,
saying that the alleged "crime" had no legal basis, comparing the
case to the bringing of "charges against a person who is stealing his own
Director General Gösta Ekman, chief of the Swedish Internal Revenue Service,
defended the failed investigation, saying that the investigation was dealing
with important legal material and that Bergman was treated just like any other
suspect. He offered some regret that Bergman had left the country, hoping that
Bergman was a "stronger" person now when the investigation had shown
that he hadn’t done anything wrong.
Even though the charges were dropped, Bergman was for a while inconsolate,
fearing he would never again return to directing. He eventually recovered from
the shock, but despite pleas by the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme,
high public figures, and leaders of the film industry, he vowed never to work
again in Sweden.
He closed down his studio on the barren Baltic island
suspended two announced film projects and went into self-imposed exile in Munich, Germany. Harry
Schein, director of the Swedish Film Institute, estimated the
immediate damage caused by Bergman’s exile to SEK 10 million and hundreds of
Although he continued to operate from Munich,
by mid-1978, Ingmar Bergman seemed to have overcome much of his bitterness
toward his motherland. In July of that year he was back in Sweden,
celebrating his 60th birthday at Fårö and partly resumed his work as a director
at Royal Dramatic Theatre. To honour his return, the Swedish Film Institute launched a new Ingmar
Bergman Prize to be awarded annually for excellence in filmmaking.
However, he remained in Munich until 1982, returning in that year to his homeland to direct Fanny and Alexander. Bergman stated that
the film would be his last, and that afterwards he would focus on directing
theatre. Since then, he directed a number of television specials and wrote
several additional scripts, while continuing to work in theatre. In 2003, Bergman, at 84
years old, directed a new film, Saraband,
that represented a departure from his previous works.
… taking notes in the bar.