The Great Ingmar Bergman

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Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in 'Persona' 1966

Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in ‘Persona’ 1966

Had the privilege  this long weekend of viewing seven of Bergman’s films, dating from the late forties to the sixties. What a treat! Each movie was introduced by the erudite David Stratton, who shone light on these sometimes dark, deep movies. From the beautiful and horrifying Virgin Spring, to the fascinating psychoanalytical Persona, we were transported to the wild coastlines and dark forests of Sweden, and invited into the psyches of his characters through brilliant close=ups, and monologues that could well emanate from the analyst’s couch. The elegance of Bergman’s direction was obvious, from his mediaeval ‘The Seventh Seal’ in which his main character gambles for his life with the black-garbed Death, to the light-hearted ‘Smiles of a Summer Night’. So interesting to see how Woody Allen’s ‘A MIdsummer Night’s Sex Comedy’ was influenced by this film of Bergman’s. My favourite was ‘The Silence’, about two sisters and their complex relationship, starring Ingrid Thulin and Gunnel Lindblom. This was closely followed by ‘Persona’ in which the identities of two women, played by Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson, merge and diverge in a dreamlike way, so that the viewer sometimes can’t tell which is which. In one anazing close-up, the two faces are blended onto one.