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Ingmar Bergman

In the Presence of a Clown

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A dark, witty and moving film based on Bergman’s colourful great-uncle.

Image from In the Presence of a Clown

Sweden 1997
Dir Ingmar Berman
With Börje Ahlstedt, Pernilla August, Erland Josephson
English subtitles

Reviving his colourful great-uncle Carl – previously played by Ahlstedt in Fanny and Alexander, The Best Intentions and Sunday’s Children – Bergman here portrays the artist as a psychopath: it’s 1925 and Carl’s in a mental hospital, indulging his passion for Schubert, suffering nightmarish visions of death, and devising eccentric plans for sound cinema. Dark, witty and moving, it’s a wry celebration of the creative urge.


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