RIP Ingmar Bergman - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old July 30th, 2007, 14:58 Thread Starter
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RIP Ingmar Bergman

I choose to memorialize this great director in this forum because to me, Bergman is the penultimate writer's filmmaker.

Film director Bergman dies at 89

Legendary film-maker Ingmar Bergman, one of the key figures in modern cinema, has died at the age of 89.

His 60-year career spanned intense classics like Cries & Whispers, The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries.

He was personally nominated for nine Oscars between 1960 and 1984, while three of his productions won Oscars for best foreign film.

Bergman died at his home in Faro, Sweden. No details about the cause of death have been released.

Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, said: "It's an unbelievable loss for Sweden, but even more so internationally."

Nick James, editor of cinema magazine Sight & Sound, paid tribute to Bergman as "one of the great masters and one of the great humanists of cinema".

Bergman and his favourite partner with the great beard, cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

Bergman won his first Oscar for best foreign film in 1961

"There are very few people of that kind of stature today," he said. "He proved that cinema could be an artform."

Bergman had five marriages and eight children, and his work often explored the tensions between married couples.

He once said: "My pictures are always part of my thinking, and my emotions, tensions, dreams, desires. Sometimes they appear from the past, sometimes they grow up from my present life."

Bergman was born in 1918. His father was a Lutheran chaplain to the Swedish royal family and a strict disciplinarian.

As a child, Bergman used to help a local projectionist with film screenings and he went on to train as an actor and director at the University of Stockholm.

He eventually became director of the Helsingborg City Theatre in 1944, the same year that saw his first film script, Frenzy, brought to the big screen by Alf Sjoberg.

Bergman made his own directorial debut with Crisis in 1946, the first of more than 40 films he directed in his career.

But it was not until the appearance of two tales of all-consuming love affairs - Summer Interlude in 1951 and Summer with Monika in 1953 - that his cinematic work was celebrated.

His reputation was confirmed by the international art-house hit The Seventh Seal in 1957.

The movie, currently back in cinemas to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is famous for the often-parodied scene in which one of the characters plays chess with death.

Bergman said he was "terribly scared of death" at the time.

He won his first Oscar for best foreign film in 1961 with The Virgin Spring, based on a 13th century Swedish ballad about a family taking revenge for their daughter's murder.

The following year, he repeated the feat with Through A Glass Darkly, which explores the effect of schizophrenia on both the patient and their family.

He remained popular throughout the 1970s, when he made several films in Germany while under self-imposed tax exile from Sweden.

On his return, he made possibly his most popular film, and the one with which he announced his retirement, Fanny and Alexander.

Told from the perspective of two children who suffer when their mother remarries a clergyman, the film is more warm-hearted and sentimental than Bergman's austere earlier work.

The cinematic version, cut down from a five-hour long TV mini-series, earned a third best foreign film Oscar in 1982.


After retiring from film-making, Bergman continued to work in theatre and television, with his last work, Saraband, shown on Swedish public television in December 2003.

When it aired, almost a million Swedes - or one in nine - watched the family drama, which was based on the two main characters from his previous TV series, Scenes From a Marriage.

In a 70th birthday tribute in 1988, Woody Allen said Bergman was "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera".

But Bergman confessed in 2004 that he could not bear to watch his own films because they made him depressed.

"I become so jittery and ready to cry... and miserable," he said. "I think it's awful," he said in a rare interview on Swedish TV.

According to the TT news agency, Bergman died peacefully on Faro Island - or Sheep Island - in the Baltic Sea. The director had settled on the island after filming several movies there.

I'd like to remember him by my favourite film, Wild Strawberries.

RIP, Ingmar Bergman.

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