Ingmar Bergman: 'Persona,' 'The Seventh Seal,' 'Cries and Whisper's director dead at 89
Ingmar Bergman, one of the most influential and acclaimed filmmakers of the twentieth century, died today, July 30, 2007 at his home on the island of Faro, Sweden. Bergman, whose filmography includes classics such as The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona, Cries & Whispers, Autumn Sonata, and Fanny and Alexander, was 89. Curiously, his fellow filmmaking giant Michelangelo Antonioni died at age 94 on the same day.
Ingmar Bergman films
During his four-decade film and television career as screenwriter, director, and sometime producer, Ingmar Bergman created some of the most thematically daring – and most challenging – films (and TV productions) ever made. Several of Bergman's efforts were simply mind boggling, others were emotionally and/or intellectually stirring, others yet were both. And just about all of them were – courtesy of collaborators such as cinematographers Gunnar Fischer and Sven Nykvist – visually stunning.
Ingmar Bergman's films were also masterfully acted. Among the performers the stage-trained director either discovered or helped to develop – most of them women – were Liv Ullmann (with whom Bergman had a long-term relationship), Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Harriet Andersson, Maj-Britt Nilsson, Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Gunnel Lindblom, Gunnar Björnstrand, and Birger Malmsten.
Additionally, Ingmar Bergman provided veteran Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström (He Who Gets Slapped, The Scarlet Letter) with his most memorable screen role: that of an elderly professor revisiting his past in Wild Strawberries / Smultronstället (1957), playing opposite Ingrid Thulin and Bibi Andersson.
Besides Wild Strawberries, among Bergman's best-known works are the following – almost invariably featuring members of his “acting troupe”:
- Smiles of a Summer Night / Sommarnattens leende (1955), with Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, Margit Carlqvist, and Gunnar Björnstrand;
- The Seventh Seal / Det Sjunde inseglet (1957), with Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe, and Gunnar Björnstrand;
- Through a Glass Darkly / Såsom i en spegel (1961), with Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, and Max von Sydow;
- Persona (1966), with Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson;
- Hour of the Wolf / Vargtimmen (1968), with Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, and Erland Josephson;
- The Passion of Anna / En passion (1969), with Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, and Erland Josephson;
- Cries & Whispers / Viskningar och rop (1972), with Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin, Kari Sylwan, and Harriet Andersson;
- Face to Face / Ansikte mot ansikte (1976), with Best Actress Academy Award nominee Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson;
- Autumn Sonata / Höstsonaten (1978), with Liv Ullmann, Best Actress Academy Award nominee Ingrid Bergman (no relation), and Erland Josephson;
- Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander (1982), with Pernilla Allwin, Bertil Guve, Ewa Fröling, and Jan Malmsjö.
Ingmar Bergman film awards
During the course of his career, Ingmar Bergman himself and his movies were honored with dozens of awards and/or nominations. Those ranged from Spain's Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Director and the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'honneur (a.k.a. Palme des Palmes or Palm of Palms) to Bergman's nine Academy Award nominations in various categories – plus an Irving G. Thalberg Award at the 1971 Oscar ceremony.
Curiously, no Ingmar Bergman movie ever won Cannes' Palme d'Or or Venice's Golden Lion, but Wild Strawberries did take home the Berlin Film Festival's Golden Bear, while The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly, and Fanny and Alexander were all Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award winners. (See also: “Ingmar Bergman vs. the Oscars.”)