Starting today, New York City’s Film Forum is celebrating the centennial of one of the most protean artists in the history of cinema, Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman. The theater’s monumental five-week retrospective—presented in association with Janus Films, the Swedish Film Institute, and the Ingmar Bergman Foundation (a concurrent survey began earlier this month on the West Coast, at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive)—will provide an expansive overview of the writer-director’s varied sixty-year career and encompass a whopping forty-seven films, forty of them newly restored. Ranging from sparkling romantic comedies to stark allegorical dramas, penetrating formal experiments to warm family sagas, psychologically rich studies of relationships to austere ruminations on questions of mortality and faith, this extraordinary body of work will be traveling all over the country throughout the rest of the year. Critics are taking the opportunity to look back on the filmmaker and the golden era of international art-house cinema that he helped to usher in.
- In the New Yorker, Richard Brody emphasizes the emotional turbulence of Bergman’s films, in which “the force of desire and the pursuit of pleasure are bound to the allure of pain,” with special attention to his 1966 masterwork Persona and the way its “extreme visual inflection transforms the meticulous study of [its female protagonists’] day-to-day wrangles into symbols of psychological disturbance.”
- Kristin M. Jones, writing for the Wall Street Journal, offers a stirring overview of the director’s career, touching on a number of the films that “electrified art-house audiences” in the 1950s and ’60s, including the chamber piece Through a Glass Darkly (1961), whose “heartbreaking conclusion affirms the sacredness of human love.”
- In Artforum, Tony Pipolo pays tribute to “a formidable director of a repertory of actors whose idiosyncrasies were the key features of his aesthetic,” including a “preoccupation with women and society’s—and perhaps his own—failure to understand and address their needs” that was already apparent in his lesser-known early work of the 1940s.
- Vulture’s “Beginner’s Guide to Ingmar Bergman,” by Charles Bramesco, assembles a handy primer on some of the director’s best-known films—The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), Cries and Whispers (1972), Fanny and Alexander (1982), and Persona—noting that even this gauntlet of masterpieces “barely scratch[es] the surface of a rich and challenging filmography.”
- Over at MUBI, Adrian Curry gathers a selection of some of the most eye-popping poster art for Bergman’s films, from both Europe and the U.S.
Take a look at our trailer for the retrospective below: