Renowned as an actors’ filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman directed some of cinema’s greatest performances, many of them by a highly talented troupe of frequent collaborators, including Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, and others. But even amid the powerhouse acting in Bergman’s substantial oeuvre, von Sydow and Ullmann’s raw, devastating work in Shame stands out. In the 1968 film, which tracks the disintegration of married couple Jan and Eva amid the brutal chaos of a fictional civil war, the two actors register every new rupture between the protagonists—most of them brought about by Jan’s cowardice—with a harrowing intensity, casting a harsh light on human frailty in the face of social turmoil.
In the clip above, taken from a new interview with the actor on our edition of Shame, Ullmann talks about the experience of working with von Sydow on the film. The two had appeared on-screen before, in 1968’s Hour of the Wolf, and the director’s typically hands-off style allowed the costars to collaborate in a particularly close fashion. Watch to the end of the video to learn how Ullmann was able to use her personal fondness for von Sydow to strengthen her performance.