Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera," he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time Swedish Cinema Swedish cinema is known as producing many critically acclaimed movies, and during the 20th century was the most prominent of Scandinavia. This is largely due to the popularity and prominence of the directors Ingmar Bergman, Victor Sjöström, and more recently Lasse Hallström and Lukas Moodysson. Swedish films, and Scandinavian films in general, are known[by whom?] for stark landscapes and slow pacing. The playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912) has dominated much of the filmmaking in Sweden, largely because of the close ties there between the film industry and live theater. Ingmar Bergman He directed over sixty films and documentaries for cinematic release and for television, most of which he also wrote. He also directed over one hundred and seventy plays. The most famous and influential Swedish filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman, rose to prominence in the fifties. He began making films in the mid-forties, and in 1955, he made Smiles of a Summer Night, which brought him international attention. A year later, he made one of his most famous films, The Seventh Seal. In the 1960s, Bergman won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for two consecutive years, with The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan) in 1960 and Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel) in 1961. He won the award again in 1983, for the early twentieth century family drama Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander). Bergman has also been nominated for the Best Picture award once, with the 1973 Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop), the story of two sisters watching over their third sister's deathbed, both afraid she might die, but hoping she does. The film lost to The Sting, and oddly enough, it was not nominated in the Foreign Language Film category. It also gave Bergman the first of three nominations for Best Director. Ingmar Bergman also won no less than four Golden Globe Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Technique Technique: Bergman usually wrote his own screenplays, thinking about them for months or years before starting the actual process of writing, which he viewed as somewhat tedious. His earlier films are carefully constructed and are either based on his plays or written in collaboration with other authors. Bergman stated that in his later works, when on occasion his actors would want to do things differently from his own intention, he would let them, noting that the results were often "disastrous" when he did not do so. As his career progressed, Bergman increasingly let his actors improvise their dialogue. In his latest films, he wrote just the ideas informing the scene and allowed his actors to determine the exact dialogue. When viewing daily rushes, Bergman stressed the importance of being critical but unemotive, claiming that he asked himself not if the work is great or terrible, but if it is sufficient or if it needs to be reshot. Subjects Subjects: Bergman's films usually deal with existential questions of mortality, loneliness, and religious faith. While these topics could seem cerebral, sexual desire found its way to the foreground of most of his films, whether the setting was a medieval plague (The Seventh Seal), upper-class family activity in early twentieth century Uppsala (Fanny and Alexander) or contemporary alienation (The Silence). His female characters are usually more in touch with their sexuality than the men, and unafraid to proclaim it, sometimes with breathtaking overtness (e.g., Cries and Whispers) as would define the work of "the conjurer," as Bergman called himself in a 1960 Time Magazine cover story. Art House Is the result of filmmaking which is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience. Film critics and film studies scholars typically define an "art film" using a "...canon of films and those formal qualities that mark them as different from mainstream Hollywood films", which includes, among other elements: a social realism style; an emphasis on the authorial expressivity of the director; and a focus on the thoughts and dreams of characters, rather than presenting a clear, goal-driven story. Film scholar David Bordwell claims that "art cinema itself is a film genre, with its own distinct conventions.“ Art house directors like Ingmar Bergman are referred to as auteurs because in art house the director makes all the artistic decisions. Characteristics Bordwell states that "...the art cinema motivates its narrative by two principles: realism and authorial expressivity." Art films deviate from the mainstream, "classical" norms of filmmaking in that they typically deal with more episodic narrative structures with a "...loosening of the chain of cause and effect". As well, art films often deal with an inner drama that takes place in a character's psyche, such as psychological issues dealing with individual identity, transgressive sexual or social issues, moral dilemmas, or personal crises. Some Art house directors Francois Truffaut Federico Fellini Jean-Luc Godard Ingmar Bergman Andrey Tarkovskiy Vittorio de Sica Akira Kurosawa Wild Strawberries Wild Strawberries is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, about an old man recalling his past. The original Swedish title is Smultronstället, which literally means "the wild strawberry patch", but idiomatically means an underrated gem of a place, often with personal or sentimental value. Bergman wrote the screenplay while hospitalized. Because it tackles difficult questions about life, and thought-provoking themes such as self-discovery and human existence, the film is often considered to be one of Bergman's most emotional, funniest, and best films. Plot Grouchy, stubborn, and egotistical Professor Isak Borg is a widowed 78-year-old physician who specialized in bacteriology. Before specializing he served as general practitioner in rural Sweden. He sets out on a long car ride from Stockholm to Lund to be awarded the degree of Doctor Jubilaris 50 years after he received his doctorate from Lund University. He is accompanied by his pregnant daughter-in-law Marianne, who does not much like her father-in-law and is planning to separate from her husband, Evald, Isak's only son. During the trip, Isak is forced by nightmares, daydreams, his old age, and his impending death to reevaluate his life. He meets a series of hitchhikers, each of whom set off dreams or reveries into Borg's troubled past.