Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jag är Ingrid / Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

Ingrid Bergman - omin sanoin. SE 2015. PC: Mantaray Film. P: Stina Gardell. Assoc. P: Anna Weitz. D: Stig Björkman. SC: Stig Björkman, Stina Gardell, Dominika Daubenbüchel. DP: Malin Korkeasalo. DP Super 8: Eva Dahlgren. M: Michael Nyman. Song: "Filmen om oss" (Eva Dahlgren). ED: Dominika Daubenbüchel. S: Mario Adamson. Head of Archive: Frida Neema Järnbert. Research: Jonas Goldmann. Voice of Ingrid Bergman in quotes: Alicia Vikander. Feat: Isabella Rossellini, Ingrid Rossellini, Roberto Rossellini [Jr.], Pia Lindström, Fiorella Mariani, Liv Ullmann, Sigourney Weaver, Jeanine Basinger. Languages: English, Italian, French, Swedish. 114 min
    Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words is produced by Stina Gardell/Mantaray Film in coproduction with  ZDF in collaboration with ARTE, Jonas Gardell Produktion, Spellbound Capital and  Filminvestering in Örebro through Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen, SVT, Chimney Pot, Henrik Johnsson, Annica och Bo Uddenäs, YLE and NTR with support by Swedish Film Institute, Creative Europe, Nordisk Film & TV Fond  and The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.    Excerpts from Ingrid Bergman’s private footage / Wesleyan University Cinema Archives
    Swedish premiere 28 Aug 2015.
    Espoo Ciné screening in the presence of Stig Björkman 29 Aug 2015 (Ingrid Bergman's centenary birthday).
    Atlantic Film Finland 2K DCP with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Samuli Kauppi / Mikaela Palmberg, press screening at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Ingrid Bergman) 13 Aug 2015

We are celebrating the centenary of Ingrid Bergman, and having read some Ingrid Bergman biographies in the summer, and most importantly, her autobiography Mitt liv / My Story (see here and here) it was a great pleasure to see Jag är Ingrid, directed by the master Stig Björkman, so faithful to the spirit of its subject that the film is a brilliant and perfect parallel work to Bergman's memoirs.

Yet this is not a film adaptation of those memoirs but based on Ingrid Bergman's own extensive archives. She apparently kept everything. She wrote letters, she kept a diary, and she was always photographing and filming in narrow gauge formats. Made in full collaboration with Bergman's four children this is an authorized and confidential film biography, a work of high independent value.

We see little previously known footage. Instead, there is a wealth of private footage and photograph material, plus interview footage made for the movie. Based on Bergman's writings it is told in the first person singular.

This is a story of a confident international star who, however, said that she was a sad child, very lonely, inventing characters. It was also sad for her to be an only child, which is why she wanted several of her own. Combining career and motherhood was not a problem for her. Life was there to be lived in full. And yet, "Jag tillhör denna låtsasvärld av film och teater" / "I belong to this make-believe world of film and theatre".

"Nobody is a prophet in her own land. The criticism at home was worse than anywhere else." On the other hand, "I don't want any roots".

Alfred Hitchcock found that Bergman took film more seriously than life and taught her to lighten up. My two favourite clips here are Alfred Hitchcock interviewing Bergman at Heathrow and Cary Grant's humoristic Academy Award acceptance speech for Ingrid for Anastasia. Isabella Rossellini comments on how Jean Renoir taught Bergman about film in general. She also remarks that Bergman "didn't like to work with father". Like in all the books, also here the episode of Autumn Sonata has a very special value as a late turning-point where Ingrid for the first time saw how others saw her on set.

Of the private life one of the most moving episodes here as in the biographies are Bergman's devotion to Isabella when she had scoliosis as a child.

The film is multi-lingual, and we hear Bergman speaking Swedish, English, French, German, and Italian.

In the age of laserdiscs, dvd's, blu-rays and classic movie channels there is a wealth of fine biographical documentaries on films and film-makers. Jag är Ingrid rises to the league of the very best of them. An indispensable source and achievement for lovers and students of Ingrid Bergman.

The visual quality is often high considering that this is a compilation film from many different sources.

It was a great pleasure to meet Stig Björkman visiting Espoo and Helsinki on Ingrid Bergman's birthday, incorporating the best kind of film historical understanding in Sweden, keeping its noble heritage of cinematic excellence. I look forward to more from him.


Stig Björkman, born 1938 in Sweden, is a writer, director and film critic. He has previously made several films about cinema including ...BUT FILM IS MY MISTRESS (2010) and TRANCEFORMER – A PORTRAIT OF LARS VON TRIER (1997). As a writer he has published interview books with Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen and Joyce Carol Oates among others. Between 1964 and 1972 he worked as chief editor for the Swedish film magazine Chaplin and has, over the years, contributed to Cahiers du Cinéma and Sight & Sound.

I’m going to keep this diary and hide it away forever.
I’m 14 years, two months and three days old.
I was born on the twenty-ninth of August 1915.
My parents were Friedel Adler and Justus Bergman.
I was baptised Ingrid.
I was spirited, irritating, stubborn and wild.

Ingrid Bergman 1929

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