30 July 2007

Ingmar Bergman

Film-maker Ingmar Bergman has died at his home in Faro, Sweden at the age of 89. No details about the cause of death have yet been released. In a 60-year career he produced numerous classic films including Cries & Whispers, The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries.

Bergman was born in 1918. His father was a Lutheran chaplain to the Swedish royal family. As a child, he 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. Bergman made his directorial debut with Crisis in 1946, the first of more than 40 films in an illustrious.

It was with the appearance of 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. 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. The cinematic version of Fanny and Alexander brought 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.

Interestingly 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.

Bergman was a fortunate man - a great film maker who was acknowledged as a master in his field and who lived to a ripe old age. What more can you ask for in a life


Renegade Eye said...

Very good tribute. I'm waiting for Woody Allen's words.

jams o donnell said...

That should be worth hearing!

Redwine said...

What a sad loss. The Seventh Seal and The Silence were among my favorites.
And today Antonioni (aged 94) died. Not a good summer for the cinephiles.
The Passenger, another great fav of mine.

Redwine said...

Sorry: yesterday, the same day as Bergman.

jams o donnell said...

Ach I didn't know until our comment. A sad loss to cinema but he lived to a very ripe age and left fine films to posterity.

sonia said...

My favorite Bergman films are Summer With Monika, The Silence, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, and Cries and Whispers.

jams o donnell said...

We are spoilt for choice Sonia!