Few film directors have worked as consistently over decades with the same team as Ingmar Bergman. With Harriet Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom and Liv Ullmann, three of Bergman’s most outstanding actresses will not only present “their” films at the Berlinale, but also converse in detail publicly about life and work with Bergman for both the screen and the stage.
When Bergman cast the Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann in Persona (1965/66) because of her resemblance to Bibi Andersson, she was the first non-Swedish performer in a Bergman film. Their many other works together include Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1972/73) and Autumn Sonata (Herbstsonate, 1977/78). In Bergman’s last film Saraband (2002/03), she appeared in front of the camera with Erland Josephson for the last time. Liv Ullmann has also directed her own films based on screenplays by Bergman, for example, Faithless (Trolösa, 1999/2000).
Harriet Andersson’s first role in a Bergman film was the lead in Summer with Monika (Sommaren med Monika, 1952/53). In the next years, Bergman wrote a number of roles especially for her, including Karin in Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel, 1960/61). One of her last performances for Bergman was the dying Agnes in Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop, 1971/72). These three films are best summed up by a remark made by Andersson: “So first he made me a maid, then crazy and then he killed me off […].”
Gunnel Lindbloms’s most famous role in a Bergman film is Anna in The Silence (Tystnaden, 1962/63): in this extremely dark and silent movie, she is in bitter conflict with her sister Ester (Ingrid Thulin) who is fatally ill. Lindblom’s intense collaboration with Bergman also included years of working in the theatre together. In the 1970s, before beginning her own directing career, she was Bergman’s assistant director on several productions.
Bergman’s work for the screen and stage are closely intertwined. During the Retrospective, long-standing members of Bergman’s team will publicly discuss his approach in both these fields: for instance, Katinka Faragó who between 1955 and 1992 worked with him on more than twenty films in a number of functions, and Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss who from 1966 onwards was responsible for the set designs and costumes in many of his stage productions. Anna Bergman, who is also a set and costume designer, worked primarily on Bergman’s last projects.
Colleague and companion Stig Björkman will provide unusual insight into the work atmosphere that prevailed with Bergman not only in a public conversation but also in three films. In Berlin, Björkman will present his documentary Ingmar Bergman (1970-72) and two compilations: Images from the Playground (Bilder från lekstugan, 2009) and … but Film is My Mistress (… men filmen är min älskarinna, 2010). Both these works compile recently restored 9.5- and 16-mm footage that Bergman and his crew shot during production.
All panel discussions will be held in the Deutsche Kinemathek’s Event Room in the Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz. Admission is free of charge.
January 12, 2011