An incisive documentary that chooses its perspective well and then uses it as a starting point for the greater story of Ingmar Bergman’s life. The year 1957 became his most decisive, a time when he was juggling several film and theater productions. The experience made Bergman find his voice as a filmmaker, emboldening him to dig deeper within himself in order to find themes and stories to tell. The last twenty minutes may have a hagiographic tone, but the film as a whole doesn’t – this is an engaging portrait of a man struggling with inner demons, stomach issues and complicated romantic liaisons. This was also a man who believed in Hitler during the war and whose temper frightened people. Among those interviewed, the Swedish actors provide greater insight.
2018-Sweden-Norway. 117 min. Color-B/W. Produced by Fredrik Heinig, Cecilia Nessen, Mattias Nohrborg. Directed and narrated by Jane Magnusson.
Trivia: Original title: Bergman – ett år, ett liv. Also shown on Swedish TV as a four-hour miniseries version. Among those interviewed: Barbra Streisand, Elliott Gould, Zhang Yimou, John Landis, Lars von Trier, Liv Ullmann, Holly Hunter, Dick Cavett; and Swedish talents Jan Troell, Mikael Persbrandt, Gunnel Lindblom, Roy Andersson, Gösta Ekman, Lena Endre, Thorsten Flinck, Marie Richardson, Inga Landgré, Suzanne Osten, Tommy Berggren, Lena Olin, Pernilla August, Jan Malmsjö.
European Film Awards: Best Documentary.
Last word: “The thing is, Bergman is incredibly honest. There are things in the film that are not so comfortable, like the Nazi sympathies, how he treated women, that he is an absent father. All these things he talks about himself. So, none of that is actually new. It’s been out there in his biography and in interviews. But because he’s such an icon and so much loved people don’t want to talk about that. They just want to sweep it under the carpet.” (Magnusson, Insider)