BTLXXIV 1992: Sunday’s Children

Sunday’s Children (Söndagsbarn). Daniel Bergman. 1992. ⭐⭐★★★★.

This film is based on a script by Ingmar Bergman (which is again based on a chapter of his autobiography Laterna Magica). It’s about Bergman’s fraught relationship with his father, and it’s directed by Bergman’s son Daniel.

It’s like Bergman-o-rama.

The most amazing thing about this film is that the cinematographer won the award that year at the Swedish Oscars. It’s so thoroughly indifferent.

There are interesting scenes in here, but they’re not very frequent. The rest of the film shifts uneasily between boredom and embarrassment. I wonder whether this could have been salvaged by better actors, director and cinematography, but who knows? If everything on the screen had been something else, then it would be have been something else.

So deep.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXIII 1992: Before Madame de Sade

Before Madame de Sade (Inför Markisinnan de Sade). 1992. ⭐⭐⭐★★★.

This is an interview that was shown before Madame de Sade on Swedish TV, so I should probably have watched it first, but I hate knowing stuff about things I’m going to see, so I didn’t. Hah!

Bergman mostly talks about Mishima and not so much about the play, which is a bit disappointing. I wanted nerdy technical details about what Bergman had cut from the text and stuff, but we barely get into that.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXII 1992: Madame de Sade

Madame de Sade (Markisinnan de Sade). Ingmar Bergman. 1992. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

This is the TV version of Mishima’s play that Bergman had staged at several theatres. It looks like it’s been somewhat reworked for TV: It’s by no means just a filmed version of the stage version.

I got my copy off of teh torrenz, and it’s a kinda crappy copy, because it’s been sourced from VHS and there’s a loud buzzing sound throughout.

I’ve never thought much of Mishima: I’ve always found him somewhere on the trite-to-melodramatic scale, but this it a totes fascinating staging. And the actors! Geez. Brilliant, especially, well, all six of them! Amazing! But, of course, Stina Ekblad is a particular favourite, as always.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXI 1986: The Blessed Ones

The Blessed Ones (De två saliga). Ingmar Bergman. 1986. ⭐⭐⭐★★★.

Bergman ended his film career with Fanny & Alexander, but after Bergman’s previous TV film was upscaled from 16mm to 32mm and shown in theatres anyway, he apparently decided to make sure this never happened again by doing his first TV movie on video.

(He’d done some theatre pieces on video before, but I think this is the first film…)

Sven Nykvist, Bergman’s cinematographer for decades, had no interest in working on video, so he said “bye”, and instead we have Per Norén, who’s… not Sven Nykvist. Bergman must have been satisfied with the results, because he’d join Bergman again for a couple more TV movies.

It looks like it has been filmed with multiple cameras? So it’s somewhere at the uneasy half-way point of being between filmed theatre and a movie. But it’s an unpretentious style I kinda like in a nostalgic way.

And Harriet Andersson is back! She’s like fab.

I got my copy of this movie from der torrenz; it doesn’t seem to be generally available anywhere? It’s a good copy, doesn’t seem to have been on a VHS before being digitised.

Oh, right. It’s Bergman’s third movie based on a screenplay by Ulla Isaksson (the first two were The Virgin Spring and Brink of Life). As he seldom did films based on other people’s scripts during that period, it’s rather significant, but of what I don’t know. Well, OK, those films are great, but, er, this one isn’t.

It’s the most straightforward extensive depiction of psychosis I’ve seen on the screen, and it’s convincing, but that doesn’t really make it fascinating.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXX 1983: Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film

Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film (Ingmar Bergman tar farväl av filmenb). Nils-Petter Sundgren. 1983. ⭐⭐⭐⭐★★.

Hey! Another documentary following Fanny & Alexander. The previous one was a fly-on-the-wall “making of”, and it was absolutely brilliant. This one is basically a guy interviewing Bergman about Fanny & Alexander for an hour.

For what it is, it’s good, but it’s completely unambitious.

I got my copy of this, too, from the Criterion bluray.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXIX 1985: The Making of Fanny & Alexander

The Making of Fanny & Alexander (Dokument Fanny och Alexander ). Ingmar Bergman. 1985. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

I’ve seen more than a handful of “making of” films, but this is pretty unique. The documentary camera person is present throughout the filming and must have been just a few inches from the cinematographer. It really feels as if we’re present at the shoot; boring bits and all. No boring voice-over to explain what we’re seeing, just a few interstitial cards making a few comments.

It’s mostly technical details and people walking around trying to make minutia correct.

It’s absolutely fascinating.

I got my version of this from the Criterion bluray edition.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXVIII 1984: Karin’s Face

Karin’s Face (Karins ansikte). Ingmar Bergman. 1984. ⭐⭐⭐⭐★★.

This short is basically Bergman showing us some pictures from his family album, with an emphasis on pictures of his mom.

I got my copy off of teh torrenzes.

The accompanying music is sentimental in the extreme. Perhaps Bergman should have used a disco soundtrack instead.

But it’s quite moving somehow.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.