Film Preview: Directorspective - Ingmar Bergman

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 112 months ago
Film Preview: Directorspective - Ingmar Bergman

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Who're you calling miserable?
The poster-boy for European auteur miserablism, Ingmar Bergman, who breathed his last in 2007, was a man whose life was both reflected in and inspired by the films he made. An austere individual, who lived for decades on a tiny outcrop of an island and was notoriously inept at relationships, his extensive body of work in theatre, television and cinema is among the most despairing and existentially troubled ever made. Whether delving into the nature of memory, or faith, or brutal sexual politics (that many an actress became his mistress is no coincidence), or disfunctional marriages, Bergman's was a vision that refused to blink while it surveyed the wreckage of human emotion and loneliness, one that many people (and even the director himself) often classify simply as "depressing". Curiously, Woody Allen is a huge fan, though given his own career's tailspin that's no longer a weighty recommendation.

The Barbican's Directorspective series turns this month to an overview of Bergman's work. Running the length of his career, the season pulls together the highlights (if such brooding movies can be described as such) from his sixty-plus films. Persona, The Seventh Seal (in which Max von Sydow tangled with Death a few decades before Bill 'n Ted did), and Wild Strawberries are scheduled toward the season's beginning, with the later, more lyrical masterpieces such as Fanny And Alexander and the harrowing Scenes From A Marriage round the event off in mid-July.

A particular standout is the screening of Bergman's acclaimed 'faith' trilogy over the 28th and 29th June: Through A Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence. Sadly, the screening of Summer With Monika, and a live interview with star Harriet Andersson, has already sold out. Read the event's full lineup for more information.

The Barbican will also host an exhibition, called The Man Who Asked Hard Questions, which features clips from Bergman's films in the form of a man-made tree: a neat appetiser for the director's work. The installation, in the Barbican's foyer, runs from June 17th to July 12th, and is free.

The Directorspective: Ingmar Bergman is at the Barbican, from 20th June to 12th July. Tickets cost £7.50, or are £6 if two or more films are booked at once.

Last Updated 15 June 2009