Ingmar Bergman/Liv Ullmann Documentary: LIV & INGMAR

Ingmar Bergman Liv Ullmann
Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullmann

Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman are the subjects of former architect Dheeraj Akolkar’s documentary Liv & Ingmar, produced by the Norwegian company NordicStories and to be distributed by Sweden’s Svensk Filmindustri. After meeting in 1965, Ullmann and Bergman made ten (narrative) films together; they were also off-screen companions for five years.

In Liv & Ingmar, Ullmann, 73, is shown spending a few days in Bergman’s house on the Swedish island of Fårø. While there, she reminisces about their personal and professional relationships. That sounds fascinating enough. But what makes Liv & Ingmar even more intriguing is that Ullmann’s recollections are interspersed with scenes from her Bergman films, which is supposed to show how their personal lives directly affected their professional collaboration.

In that regard, Liv & Ingmar makes Ullmann and Bergman seem like Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, who went from The Purple of Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters to Alice and Husbands and Wives.

Ullmann and Bergman’s ten movies, a few of which were made for Swedish television, were the following: Persona (1966), with Bibi Andersson; Shame (1968), with Max von Sydow; Hour of the Wolf (1968), with von Sydow; The Passion of Anna (1969), with von Sydow and Andersson; Cries and Whispers (1972), with Ingrid Thulin and Harriet Andersson; Scenes from a Marriage (1973), with Andersson and Erland Josephson; Face to Face (1976), with Josephson; The Serpent’s Egg (1978), with David Carradine; Autumn Sonata (1978), with Ingrid Bergman; and Saraband (2003), with Josephson. Additionally, Ullmann had a cameo in The Magic Flute (1975) and was featured in Bergman’s 1969 documentary Fårø Document.

Bergman died in July 2007. Liv & Bergman may be screened at Cannes, according to this report, in which Liv & Bergman sound designer Resul Pookutty states, “Two days before Ingmar Bergman died, she returned to him. They spent two days at his residence on the island of Fårø. Then he quietly died in her lap … What a beautiful ending to their romance! This is when I decided I had to be part of Liv Ullmann’s dreams.”

Liv Ullmann / Ingmar Bergman photo: NordicStories.

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