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Ingmar Bergman
A definitive film season

January-March 2018

Our comprehensive, three-month survey marks the centenary of the birth of Ingmar Bergman, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

Introduction by season programmer Geoff Andrew

Ingmar Bergman

 

Extended run

  • Persona

    Persona

    Bergman’s modernist masterpiece explores the volatile relationship between an actress and her nurse.

  • The Touch

    The Touch

    A happily-married woman embarks on a passionate love affair in this fine Bergman drama.

  • The Magic Flute

    The Magic Flute

    Bergman’s version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a charming cinematic treat for winter.

Strands

Introduction

Part 2 (February)

“I don’t want to make merely intellectual films. I want audiences to feel, to sense my films”
Ingmar Bergman

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.

Geoff Andrew

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”
Ingmar Bergman

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.

Geoff Andrew

WANT MORE?

See our screenings of The Touch, The Magic Flute and our Future Film recommends choices.

Cultural partners

Ingmar Bergman Foundation

1918-2018 Bergman

With thanks to the Swedish Film Institute, SF Studios, The Ministry of Culture Sweden and the Embassy of Sweden in London

Promotional partners

Scandi Kitchen      Totally Swedish

Restaurant partner

Aquavit

Retail partner

Tiger of Sweden

BFI recommends
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.

Old Vic


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