Vol. 5 Num 53 Sun. July 18, 2004  

Ingmar Bergman retrospective
Screening of twenty films by the Swedish film maestro

Zahir Raihan Film Society, in association with the Alliance Francaise of Dhaka, will screen 20 famous films made by the world renowned Swedish exponent of cinematic art Ingmar Bergman, in celebration of his 86th birth anniversary. These films will be screened in three parts in three months at the auditorium of the Alliance Francaise of Dhaka. Eight films will be shown in the first part of the retrospective on 18th - 21st July 2004, with two screenings each day: at 5.00 PM and 7.00 PM.

Bergman was born on 14th July 1918, in Uppsala, Sweden. His father was a stern Lutheran pastor, who eventually became the chaplain to the Swedish royal family. He had a strict early life and was raised under rigid moral and ethical codes. This early traumatic experience was reflected in many of his later films, especially in his autobiographical Fanny and Alexander (1983). He fell in love with theatre at a very early stage, at five. Later on, at the University of Stockholm, he studied literature and art. He directed his first play when he was a student there. After his graduation, he joined a Stockholm theatre as a trainee-director. In this period, he also wrote a number of plays, novels and short stories, most of which were un-produced and unpublished.

Bergman's involvement with filmmaking began in 1941, during the Second World War. He started working as a script doctor. Later on, in 1944, he was assigned to write the script of Hets (Torment/Frenzy), to be directed by Alf Sjoberg. The film became an international success and the following year, he was assigned his first film as director. His early films are largely insignificant. His first international success came with the films Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) and The Seventh Seal (1957), both of which won prizes at Cannes Film Festival, the later the prestigious 'Golden Palm'. The Seventh Seal is his most famous film and it deals allegorically and agonosingly with the philosophy and metaphysics of man's relationship to God and his encounters with the idea of Death.

His films reflect his personal and inner world, his anguish and fears, his joys and hopes. Another consistent Bergman theme the psychology of women and their introspective inner world are seen in many of his films, notably, in Summer Interlude (1951), Summer With Monika (1953), Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Persona (1966), Cries and Whispers (1972), and Autumn Sonata (1978). Wild Strawberries (1957) deals powerfully and profoundly with the subject of man's isolation and uses journey as a plot structure.

Through the years, Bergman has formed a repertory of actors and technicians, who worked in his films. His favourite actors include the famous names in the Swedish cinema and theatre like Gunnar Bjornstrand, Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, and Liv Ullmann. Gunnar Fischer and later on, Sven Nykvist, were his regular cinematographers, who provided him the visual boldness that was so necessary for his themes.

Bergman is considered not only the best filmmaker of Sweden, but also, one of the best in the history of world cinema. He is a filmmaker of the filmmakers. Our tribute to this talented filmmaker, who had an immense impact on the filmmakers and film enthusiasts worldwide, on his 86th birth anniversary!