Bergman 100: Celebrating a National Icon

The Swedish Film Institute and the Bergman Center held a press conference at the Hallwylska Museum in Stockholm on the 6th of December to present the Swedish programme for Bergman 100. The series of events celebrates Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, who would have turned 100 years in 2018.

On 6 December 2017, the Swedish press had the pleasure of taking a look into what to come during the yearlong celebration of Ingmar Bergman in his native Sweden in 2018. The press conference, held in the drawing room decorated with glittering gold at the beautiful Hallwylska Museum built as the home of Count and Countess Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl at the end of the 19th century, was opened by Jan Göransson, the head of press at the Swedish Film Institute, and Jannike Åhlund, the chairperson of Foundation Bergman Center.

First, several guests, including the actress Eva Fröling, who played Emilie in Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander, introduced the fascinating exhibition entitled Bergman à la mode. The exhibition, displaying the Bergman ladies’ mesmerizing costumes worn in such masterpieces as Fanny and Alexander, is open until the middle of March at the Hallwylska Museum. With a modern, colourfully striped blouse on, Fröling recollected the shooting of the film, in which she appeared in several of the airy dresses in pastel colours that can be also seen at the exhibition. Now as old as the grandmother Helena in the film, played by Gun Wållgren, she told how much she, then a young actress, appreciated working with the director and her co-stars who had passed away long before.

Jan Holmberg, the CEO of the Foundation Ingmar Bergman, announced that several literary works written by Bergman (Shakespeare in the Film World) and written about him (Se Bergman | See Bergman by the renowned theatre critic Leif Zern) would be released by Nordstedt, Sweden’s oldest publishing house founded in 1823, in 2018. Thomas Hanzon, one of the leading actors at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, read an excerpt from Bergman’s notebooks which will be published in 2018. The entry was from the day when the director came up with the title for the film. Hanzon, a skilful actor who played one of the Bergman characters in The Faithless (directed by Liv Ullman), dramatically re-enacted that memorable moment when this world-famous title Fanny and Alexander was born – transforming the director’s preparatory writing into the work of literature.

During the conference, all the upcoming events, which are too numerous to be listed here, were presented one by one. Those were introduced by the representatives of the national public broadcaster (SVT), the production/distribution company Svensk Filmindustri, the Swedish Film Institute, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, etc. The short film project, Bergman Revisited, which has its premiere at the Gothenburg Film Festival in early 2018, might sound especially appealing to the readers who love today’s Swedish films. Among the directors, we can find Tomas Alfredsson, Pernilla August, and Lisa Aschan.

All these presentations were followed by the anecdotes about the director humorously told by Katinka Faragó, Bergman’s right hand. So we need to stay tuned during the whole year. It is not only about the past that the maestro Bergman created but also about the present that new generations of creators will create using the heritage he left behind. Not only Stockholm, but also other cities in the country will take part in Bergman 100. The whole Sweden is indeed ready to commemorate and celebrate the achievements by Ingmar Bergman, who now has become a real national icon.

The anniversary year, in fact, will be celebrated all over the world with hundreds of events: retrospective film screenings, premieres for new films inspired by the director, theatre performances, book releases, art exhibitions, etc. The international kick-off took place in London in September 2017. There, the guest of honour, Norwegian film-maker and former Bergman muse Liv Ullmann shared her memory of Bergman.