From the Bergman Archives

Today marks what would have been the ninety-eighth birthday of Ingmar Bergman, one of cinema’s most essential artists, who ushered in a golden age of world cinema. Celebrate the Swedish auteur by revisiting a selection of Criterion essays, photo galleries, and videos that explore his iconic oeuvre.

  • First, read John Simon on Bergman’s 1955 turn-of-the-century farce Smiles of a Summer Night, a comedy that emerged from a dark period in the director’s life. “What kind of comedy comes out of such a deep depression?” asks Simon. “Not one for belly laughs or helpless giggles, though those too may occur.” Yet, he notes, the fact that “in Smiles of a Summer Night you can always feel Bergman cannily in control never quite lets you forget that outside this playfulness there lurks, precariously held at bay, a reality that is no laughing matter.”
  • Below, watch a video essay that explores Bergman’s compulsion to translate his unconscious into art.

  • Enjoy filmmaker Catherine Breillat’s tribute to Bergman’s psychosexual early work Sawdust and Tinsel, excerpted and translated from the September 2003 issue of Cahiers du cinéma. “When I saw this film, I immediately decided To Be a filmmaker,” says Breillat. “Not out of love for the cinema. Out of necessity. In order to save myself.”
  • Go behind the scenes of Bergman’s masterpieces The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, both from 1957.
  • Read Rick Moody on Bergman’s triumphant final film, Fanny and Alexander, and its place “alongside the great stories of Thomas Mann, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, and August Strindberg.”
  • Watch a video essay by :: kogonada on the women and mirrors in Bergman’s work.
  • The Magician is one of Bergman’s most enigmatic films, perhaps his underground masterpiece, one of the keys to his cinema,” writes Olivier Assayas in an essay that originally appeared in the October 1990 issue of Cahiers du cinéma. “Traveling actors, maids flirting about, a love potion, a happy ending, and diabolical apparitions—Bergman gives himself to the vertigo of quoting himself,” he writes.
  • Finally, watch a trailer for Bergman’s harrowing 1972 existential drama Cries and Whispers, which features a direct address from Bergman himself:
  • Cries and Whispers trailer

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