Ingmar Bergman and Swedish Cinema

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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.[citation needed] The playwright August
Strindberg (1849-1912) has dominated much of the
filmmaking in Sweden,[citation needed] 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.
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