BERGMAN - ETT ÅR, ETT LIV

Sweden, Germany 2018

Synopsis

Much has been written and documented about Ingmar Bergman. His films and theatre productions have been analysed and dissected countless times, both in Sweden and internationally. He himself has written about his life and films. What is there left to say?

What we are missing is an comprehensive picture. The books that have been written, the films made and interviews conducted on and around Bergman have often dealt with the minutiae of his art or his childhood. However, there is no comprehensive cinematic illumination of his unbelievable creativity, productivity and sweeping range.
The year 2018 sees the 100th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's birth which we intend to commemorate with a documentary project taking in a feature-length film and a four part television series. The project investigates not only the artist, writer and film and theatre director, but also Ingmar Bergman the person. Who was this man whose narrative art touched so many people? And how was it all possible?

We explore the existential themes of the films that form the core of Bergman's influential artistic legacy and also relate these to his private life. We want to emphasise Bergman's unique ability to frame his existential dilemmas in such an entertaining manner, and at the same time illuminate his many fruitful relationships with colleagues including Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Gunnel Lindblom, Erland Josephson, Gunnar Fischer, Sven Nykvist, Marik Vos, Anna Asp, Lena Olin, Peter Stormare, Pernilla August and others.

Directors Statement

Most of the 2010s decade has for me been strongly linked to Ingmar Bergman. Firstly, I spent three years working on a television series and documentary film titled TRESPASSING BERGMAN. I travelled all over the world talking to filmmakers who have been inspired, terrified, redeemed or, for better or worse, astounded by him. Zhang Yimou told me how he first saw WILD STRAWBERRIES at film school in Beijing directly after The Cultural Revolution, and how his view of cinema changed that day. Ang Lee remembered, with his eyes filled with tears, how seeing THE VIRGIN SPRING in Taipei in 1974 made him feel like he Lost his own virginity – for real. Alexander Payne, sitting in Los Angeles, considered THE SEVENTH SEAL to be overrated, while in New York a nervous Martin Scorsese admitted that he still did not understand Bergman’s films – having, nevertheless, the courage to admit that they will never seem dated. None of these fantastic filmmakers had ever met Bergman. They only knew him through his films. Starting from this material, I began to wonder what people who actually worked with and talked to him would have to say about the master. Would a different picture appear? During the last three years I have been talking to Bergman’s co-workers. From his stars such as Gunnel Lindblom, to his producer and script-girl Katinka Farago, to sound technicians and assistant directors. They paint a multi-coloured image of a great artist who could be very inspiring, but also terrifying. A man who is super sensitive to sound, light, food, dreams, but not really to other people.
A man who worked harder and faster than anyone else in the history of cinema. Bergman lived a very long life and he was incredibly productive. My problem, then, was how to tell his story in less than two hours. It seemed impossible. However, during my research a single year kept popping up: 1957, Bergman’s most magical and productive year. He shoots two films and a special movie for television. His films THE SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES have their premieres. He directs four major theatre productions, has 6 children with four different women, and several affairs. I thought – why hasn’t anyone made a film about this? Perhaps one can tell the story of Bergman by focusing on just this one year? This is what I set out to do.
Now it is done.

Director's Biography

Born in 1968, Jane Magnusson is an award-winning Swedish director and journalist. Her documentary TRESPASSING BERGMAN (2013) screened at the Venice International Film Festival and her short VOX LIPOMA (2018) was selected to compete in the official short film section at Sundance Film Festival 2018. Her documentary EBBE – THE MOVIE (2009) received an award for Best Documentary at the Swedish Guldbagge Awards in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.

Filmography:
2018 - BERGMAN - A YEAR IN A LIFE, doc
2018 - BERGMAN, doc TV series, 4 x 60 min
2018 - VOX LIPOMA, short
2016 - CHRISTINA LINDBERG, TV doc
2014 - CUPCAKE, CUPCAKE, short
2013 - TRESPASSING BERGMAN, doc
2009 - EBBE – THE MOVIE, doc

as screenwriter:
2008 - THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Jane Magnusson

Written by : Jane Magnusson

Produced by : Cecilia Nessen, Fredrik Heinig, Mattias Nohrborg

Director of Photography : Emil Klang

Editor : Hanna Lejonqvist

Composer : Jonas Beckmann, Lars Kumlin

Sound Design : Daniel Lindvik

Animation : David Karlsson

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2018
  • EFA Documentary Selection 2018