A definitive film season
Our comprehensive, three-month survey marks the centenary of the birth of Ingmar Bergman, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.
Bergman’s modernist masterpiece explores the volatile relationship between an actress and her nurse.
A happily-married woman embarks on a passionate love affair in this fine Bergman drama.
Bergman’s version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a charming cinematic treat for winter.
The ‘trilogy of silence’ embraces all of Bergman’s themes.
Bergman looks at the complications of sexual and romantic passion.
Emotional turmoil begins at home.
Bergman was fascinated by how humans cope with suffering, injustice, mortality and uncertainty.
Bergman often focused on the experiences and emotional lives of women.
Throughout his career, Bergman looked critically and unsentimentally at the artist’s role in the world.
Part 2 (February)
“I don’t want to make merely intellectual films. I want audiences to feel, to sense my films”
Because Bergman’s best-known film (The Seventh Seal) is famous for humanising death, it has led to misconceptions regarding the writer-director’s abiding concerns. He was interested in how humans confront their mortality, but that was simply part of a broader fascination with how we – in relatively comfortable Western Europe – cope with the messy complexity of life itself. How do we respond to misfortune, injustice, cruelty, violence, war, even diabolical evil? These issues, along with dashed dreams and failed ambitions, may affect anyone; but women also have to deal with patriarchal society and the pride, insecurity and condescending egotism of individual males. Small wonder Bergman, so alert to inner turmoil and torment, made an unusually large number of films focused on female protagonists. And some of them rank among his very greatest achievements.
Part 3 (March)
“No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls”
In the final part of our centennial celebration of Ingmar Bergman, we turn to his various portraits of the artist. Bergman’s films were unusually personal; most were to some degree inspired by his own thoughts, emotions, anxieties and experiences. He preferred to depict milieux he knew; even the films set in the past speak of his own concerns. It’s unsurprising, then, that artists and entertainers – creators, interpreters, performers of one sort or another – abound in his work. So here are movies which, like Persona, reflect on the artist’s role, function and place in society, examining the doubts and demons, misunderstandings and criticisms, blockages and burdens faced by those striving to live a creative life. Profoundly aware that his work in film, television and theatre was a form of illusionism, Bergman never romanticised the creative process, but constantly asked questions as to its purpose and worth – with insightful, exhilarating, often provocative results.
With thanks to the Swedish Film Institute, SF Studios, The Ministry of Culture Sweden and the Embassy of Sweden in London
The Old Vic
Fanny & Alexander
21 Feb-14 Apr
Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Fanny & Alexander is translated to the stage by BAFTA award-winning writer Stephen Beresford with Penelope Wilton as Helena Ekdahl.