One of the most revelatory voices to emerge from the postwar explosion of international art-house cinema, Bergman was a master storyteller who startled the world with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical and spiritual questions. etc.) During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way.
Small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Björnstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation, including his stubbornly devoted lover, Märta (Ingrid Thulin).
Scenes from a Marriage chronicles the many years of love and turmoil that bind Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson), tracking their relationship as it progresses through a number of successive stages: matrimony, infidelity, divorce, and subsequent partnerships. In the first of a series of legendary performances for Bergman, Liv Ullmann plays a stage actor who has inexplicably gone mute; an equally mesmerizing Bibi Andersson is the garrulous young nurse caring for her in a remote island cottage. But with the radical Persona, he attained new levels of visual poetry. The strangest and most disturbing of the films Ingmar Bergman shot on the island of Fårö, Hour of the Wolf stars Max von Sydow as a haunted painter living in voluntary exile with his wife (Liv Ullmann). Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, an Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality. This film, which contains some of the most devastating scenes in Bergman’s oeuvre, shows the impact of war on individual lives. By the midsixties, Ingmar Bergman had already conjured many of the cinema’s most unforgettable images. Deftly interspersing scenes of farce with interludes of tranquil reflection, A Lesson in Love serves as an aperitif before the full-blown comic brilliance of Smiles of a Summer Night the following year. With this spare chamber piece, set in an empty theater, Ingmar Bergman returned to his perennial theme of the permeability of life and art.
One of the most influential films of its time, The Seventh Seal is a stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning and a work of stark visual poetry.
A day later, he bought the projector from Dag fair and square, and the rest is history. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot by Gunnar Fischer in rich, gorgeously gothic black and white. During a prolonged flashback, Stig remembers the delights and tribulations of their relationship, back to their early days in the orchestra conducted by the eminent Sönderby (Victor Sjöström), a time when Stig was riddled with self-doubt. Bergman’s dialogue bubbles with an irony reminiscent of his beloved Molière, and the music of Domenico Scarlatti (performed by Bergman’s fourth wife, Käbi Laretei) underscores the joy that infuses much of the film. The struggles of faith and morality, the nature of dreams, and the agonies and ecstasies of human relationships—Bergman explored these subjects in films ranging from comedies whose lightness and complexity belie their brooding hearts to groundbreaking formal experiments and excruciatingly intimate explorations of family life.