Directors Interesting

Ingmar Bergman in Dallas, 1981

In 1981 Ingmar Bergman paid a visit to the Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Somebody filmed  a press conference he gave and it was recently posted on the web:

He also did a one-on-one interview with Bobbie Wygant where he talked about Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and the recent attempt on President Regan’s life, the ratings system in Sweden and his personal life around the time of Persona (1966).

Coming at the tail end of his illustrious career, it makes for interesting viewing.

> More on Ingmar Bergman at Wikipedia
> Vimeo channel


Seventh Seal Set

When looking at the above photo of Ingmar Bergman and Bengt Ekerot on the set of The Seventh Seal, I want to imagine there is a chessboard in front of them.

[Image via Aphelis/Criterion]

> The Seventh Seal at Wikipedia and IMDb
> Buy The Seventh Seal on DVD, Blu-ray or the Criterion Edition
> Criterion on Facebook and Twitter


Ingmar Bergman on The Dick Cavett Show

Back in 1971, Ingmar Bergman appeared on The Dick Cavett Show with actress Bibi Anderson for a lengthy interview.

It was presumably part of the promotion for the US release of The Touch, but it is a fascinating glimpse of the director in a mainstream US setting.

You can also see Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5, and Part 6.

> Ingmar Bergman at Wikipedia
> The Touch at the IMDb

DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 16th August 2010



Ingmar Bergman’s The Faith Trilogy (Palisades Tartan): Ingmar Bergman’s classic three films from the early 1960s about religion and spiritual crisis have been repackaged for a new DVD box set.

Notable for cementing his reputation as one of Europe’s finest directors, they still remain amongst his finest work and feature some exquisite cinematography from long-time collaborator Sven Nykvist.

  • Through A Glass Darkly (1961) is a searing family drama about a disturbed young woman (Harriet Andersson) as she holidays on a summer island with her detached father (Gunnar Björnstrand), husband (Max Von Sydow) and brother (Lars Passgård). It won Bergman his second Best Foreign Film Oscar and is bleak but engrossing study of a family struggling to cope under enormous emotional and mental strains. Andersson and Van Sydow are especially outstanding in their roles.
  • Winter Light (1962) explores the spiritual crisis facing a small-town pastor (Gunnar Björnstrand) over a single Sunday afternoon in November. As his congregation dwindles, his remaining parishioners (Ingrid Thulin, Max von Sydow) have problems which reflect his own spiritual demons. Björnstrand gives one of his greatest performances and the lack of music, sparse sets, and stark black-and-white photography all add to the powerful sense of desolation. Released in the year when the world actually was on the brink of nuclear Armageddon, it is one of Bergman’s most raw and spellbinding films.
  • The Silence (1963) is the enigmatic tale of two sisters: the eldest is a translator (Ingrid Thulin) with a serious illness, whilst the younger one (Gunnel Lindblom) has a young son (Jörgen Lindström). Whilst travelling back to Sweden, they stop off in an unidentified Central European country and various tensions arise. The human struggle to communicate with each other as well as God is a pervasive theme throughout and the sensual depiction of human desire is superbly evoked (so well in fact, that the film caused considerable controversy when it was released).

Tartan have remastered the films and added introductions with Marie Nyrerod speaking to the late director.

Although they are short they feature Bergman talking about his fondness for Winter Light and the censorship issues surrounding by The Silence.

The discs come in separate slim line cases along with a booklet of reviews by the late critic Philip Strick. The discs are all region free.

> Buy Ingmar Bergman’s The Faith Trilogy on DVD from Amazon UK


Clint Eastwood: The Director’s Collection (Warner Bros.): This neat compilation of Eastwood’s more recent films as a director came out on DVD last month and has now got the Blu-ray treatment.

It includes his most recent drama Gran Torino (2008), his World War II dramas Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), the Boston crime drama Mystic River (2003) and his Oscar winning western Unforgiven (1992).

> Buy Clint Eastwood: The Director’s Collection on Blu-ray from Amazon UK


14 Blades (Icon Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Centurion (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Elvis – The Movie (Fremantle Home Entertainment) [DVD]
Mongrels: Series 1 (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Perrier’s Bounty (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Killing Machine (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Machinist (Palisades Tartan) [Blu-ray / with DVD]
Whip It (Lionsgate UK) [Blu-ray / DVD]

The Best DVD and Blu-ray releases of 2009
UK cinema releases for Friday 13th August 2010 including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Last Airbender

DVD & Blu-ray dvd pick

DVD Pick: Fanny and Alexander

Fanny and Alexander DVD
Click on the image to buy the DVD from Amazon UK

Fanny and Alexander is widely regarded as director Ingmar Bergman‘s swansong, even though he went on to write several scripts and direct TV films.

Originally conceived as TV mini-series, it is the story of 10-year-old Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve), his younger sister, Fanny (Pernilla Alwin) and and their well-to-do family in Uppsala, Sweden.

In some ways it was a love letter to Bergman’s own childhood with several set pieces paying homage to his youth: a joyous Christmas gathering of relatives and servants; the emotional wrench when their recently-widowed mother (Ewa Froling) marries an austere minister; their warm relationship with a grandmother (Gunn Wallgren) who ‘kidnaps’ Fanny and Alexander in order to show them love and affection; and many others.

It still ranks as one of his finest films (which is no mean feat given his body of work) and one of the best of the 1980s. One of the most striking aspects is the way in which it goes against the grain of his work in the 1970s with its celebration of the joys amidst the hardships of family life.

A marvellous evocation of childhood, it is still an exquisite film to watch and was deservedly rewarded with Oscars for best foreign film, cinematography (by the incomparable Sven Nykvist), costumes and art direction/set decoration.

This is the 3-hour theatrical cut, which has been digitally restored from the original negative and soundtrack.

For that reason alone it is worth buying but true Bergman fans should also get the 5 hour TV version which is available on Artificial Eye and Criterion, which have more extras.

Fanny and Alexander is out now from Palisades Tartan

> Buy Fanny and Alexander at Amazon UK
> Fanny and Alexander at the IMDb
> Find out more about Ingmar Bergman at Wikipedia

Cannes Festivals News

Cannes 2008: World Cinema Foundation

The World Cinema Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring neglected films from around the world.

Established by Martin Scorsese, it supports and encourages preservation efforts to save the worldwide patrimony of films, ensuring that they are preserved, seen and shared.

register now!

They announced today in Cannes that they are teaming up with the Ingmar Bergman Foundation for a joint project to preserve, restore and reveal rare behind-the-scenes footage from the Swedish director’s extensive personal archive.

Newly restored and never seen before footage of Bergman on the set of Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), was screened yesterday in front of the Cannes Classics presentation of the World Cinema Foundation’s restoration of Metin Erksan’s Turkish classic Susuz Yaz (1964).

The World Cinema Foundation is going to fund the restoration, editing and commentary of more than 14 hours of behind-the-scenes footage for a total of 18 Bergman titles, ranging from Sawdust and Tinsel in 1953 through The Seventh Seal, Persona, Cries and Whispers and After the Rehearsal in 1984.

The majority of the footage is of Ingmar Bergman at work, but also included are scenes of a more personal matter.

> For more information visit the official website of the World Cinema Foundation
> Cannes Film Festival
> The Ingmar Bergman Foundation
> Ingmar Bergman at the IMDb