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Ingmar Bergman season to take place at British Film Institute

A selection of Ingmar Bergman films will be shown at the British Film Institute as part of the #Bergman100 celebrations, which will be take place all year in over 100 countries.

The films have been divided into a collection of themes that reflect the life of Ingmar Bergman. Additionally, Persona and The Touch will have an extended run.

You can view the whole programme here. 

Mark your calendars, here are the films being shown:

Main films

Persona

After a mischievous montage ‘explaining’ the film’s origins, the narrative proper gets underway, charting the increasingly tense battle of wits between the chatty Alma (Andersson) and the mute Elisabet (Ullmann), who are isolated together in a cottage on the island of Fårö. With a rich, resonant mix of related themes – the vampiric nature of art, the complex fragility of personality, the difficulty of communication – the film is arguably Bergman’s most audacious and formally innovative work, multi-levelled yet utterly lucid. Sven Nykvist’s lustrous camerawork, the subtle sound design and matchless lead performances combine to create a mesmerisingly beautiful work of unforgettable, haunting mystery.

Being shown throughout January. See session times here. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rrET0Hfv3M

The Touch

Karin (Andersson), a happily married mother of two, surprises herself by responding in-kind to an unforeseen profession of love from David (Gould), an archaeologist visiting Sweden, whom her doctor husband (von Sydow) has befriended. But love, however toxically exhilarating, is seldom simple, and deceit and David’s volatile temperament take their toll. Due to dubbed prints and mixed reviews, The Touch all but disappeared for decades. Now, however, the psychological precision of Bergman’s script and the subtlety and intensity of the performances can be properly appreciated, along with the evocative autumnal colours of Sven Nykvist’s burnished camerawork. Utterly compelling; a revelation.

Being shown throughout February. See session times here. 

Ingmar Bergman in Close-up: an Introduction

The ‘trilogy of silence’ embraces all of Bergman’s themes. This also includes a special talk on Bergman’s motivations.

View the programme. 

  • Through a Glass Darkly: A writer (Björnstrand) joins his daughter, son and son-in-law on holiday, and tensions soon arise. Click here to view the January screenings.
  • Winter Light: A widowed village pastor struggles to deal with his parishioners and his ex-lover. Click here to view the January screenings.
  • The Silence: Two sisters, one ailing, the other with her young son, check into a hotel in a foreign city readying itself for war… Click here to view the January screenings.

All in the Family

Emotional turmoil begins at home.

View the programme. 

Includes an introductory course to Ingmar Bergman, which you can view here, and a discussion on Fanny and Alexander, which you can view here. There’s also a special talk on how Bergman uses family drama, which you can view here. 

  • Saraband: Bergman’s close-up dissection of tortured emotions is fearless, compassionate and invigoratingly cathartic. Click here to view January session times.
  • Private Confessions: This sequel to The Best Intentions, directed by Liv Ullmann, portrays Bergman’s parents later in life. Click here to view January session times.
  • Sunday’s Confession: Bergman’s autobiographically inspired script, directed by his son Daniel. Click here to view January session times.
  • Fanny and Alexander: The superior, uncut TV version of Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of a 20th-century Swedish family. Click here to view January session times.
  • A Ship Bound for India: The influence of French poetic realism can be felt in the moody dockside setting of this family drama. Click here to view January session times.
  • Crisis: Bergman’s directorial debut deals with a woman torn between her loving foster mother and her city-dwelling birth mother. Click here to view January session times.
  • Autumn Sonata: Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann star in this taut drama about an estranged mother and daughter. Click here to view January session times.
  • Wild Strawberries: Victor Sjöström is magnificent as the crabby professor taking a nostalgic road trip with his daughter-in-law. Click here to view January session times.

Love, Pain and the Whole Damn Thing

Bergman looks at the complications of sexual and romantic passion.

View the programme

  • Faithless: A Bergman-scripted tale of a woman caught between two men indulging in increasingly dangerous emotional games. Click here to see the January session times.
  • Scenes From a Marriage: We screen the complete, six-episode version of Bergman’s extraordinary chronicle of a seemingly happy, comfortable marriage rocked by infidelity. Click here to see the January session times.
  • The Passion of Anna: Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow star in this story of isolation and obsession as two people try to find comfort in each other. Click here to see the January session times.
  • Last Couple Out: A student, troubled by his parents’ broken marriage, finds himself engaged to one woman but attracted to another. Click here to see the January session times.
  • Now About These Women: Bergman’s broadest farce, set in the 1920s, centres on a critic out to get a scoop on a famous cellist. Click here to see the January session times.
  • Smiles of a Summer Night: Bergman’s Cannes prize-winning comedy assembles various couples in a country house in 1900. Click here to see the January session times.
  • A Lesson in Love: A pleasingly spiky and inventive comedy about a gynaecologist trying to win back his wife. Click here to view January session times.
  •  Port of Call: Bergman charts the tale of two vulnerable loners; a girl bruised by her parents’ unhappy marriage and a sailor tired of years at sea. Click here to view January session times.
  • Woman Without a Face: This Bergman script tells the dark tale of a troubled affair. Click here to view January session times.
  • Summer with Monika: Bergman’s scandalous tale of two lovers enjoying the freedom of youth. Click here to view January session times.
  • To Joy: The courtship and marriage of two violinists (Maj-Britt Nilsson, Stig Olin) is laid bare. Click here to view January session times.

Women in Love

Bergman often focused on the experiences and emotional lives of women.

This programme also includes a talk on Bergman’s portraits of women, which you can view here. 

View the programme

  • Face to Face: We screen the complete (and superior) original TV version of Bergman’s account of a psychiatrist’s breakdown. Click here to view February session times.
  • Cries and Whispers: A dying woman (Harriet Andersson) is attended to in her rural mansion by her sisters. Click here to view February session times.
  • So Close to Life: This affecting chamberwork charts the experiences of three patients at a maternity hospital. Click here to view February session times.
  • Waiting Women: Bergman’s episodic celebration of love centres on three wives on holiday. Click here to view February session times.
  • Journey into Autumn: A female fashion editor and a young model travel to Stockholm, each dreaming of better lives. Click here to view February session times.
  • Divorced: A woman deserted by her husband finds solace in her landlady’s son. Click here to view February session times.
  • Summer Interlude: A ballerina recalls a joyous summer fling with an earnest admirer. Click here to view February session times.
  • Thirst: An account of a troubled marriage, made after Bergman’s separation from his second wife. Click here to view February session times.

The Human Condition

Bergman was fascinated by how humans cope with suffering, injustice, mortality and uncertainty.

Includes a talk called ‘Philosophical Screens: Bergman and the Cinema of Existence’. View it here.

View the programme

  • The Devil’s Eye: Bergman’s amusing and beautifully acted variation on the story of Don Juan. Click here to view the February session times.
  • Fårö Document 1979: Bergman revisits some of his previous interviewees – and meets a new generation of islanders. Click here to view the February session times.
  • Shame: A couple on an isolated farm try to go about their business during a civil war, but how long can their idyll last? Click here to view the February session times.
  • From the Life of the Marionettes: A horrible crime is seen from multiple perspectives in Bergman’s thought-provoking film. Click here to view the February session times.
  • The Serpents Egg: David Carradine stars as a trapeze artist who mourns his brother with the help of his brother’s ex. Click here to view the February session times.
  • Eve: Trauma, guilt, pain and restorative relationships – this Bergman script has it all. Click here to view the February session times.
  • Prison: Bergman’s highly experimental feature, with its stories within stories, is fascinating. Click here to view February session times.
  • It Rains on our Love: An ex-con and a pregnant woman decide to make a go of it, but their relationship has so much stacked against it… Click here to view February session times.
  • Torment: A troubled student falls for a shop girl in Bergman’s intense, emotional drama. Click here to view February session times.
  • The Virgin Spring: A stark, stirring tale of a young girl’s rape and her father’s revenge. Click here to view February session times.
  • The Seventh Seal: Bergman’s allegorical drama stars Max von Sydow as a knight trying to elude his own death. Click here to view February session times.

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.