Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ingmar & friends

Bergman with son Daniel
and wife #4 Kibi Laretai
     Ingmar Bergman, who Woody Allen once called "the great cinematic poet of morality" as well as "the finest filmmaker of my lifetime", was not quite the legendary recluse some have made him out to be. Although notoriously opinionated about some of his fellow film makers (he once called Godard "a fucking bore") and critics (he referred to as "executioners"), he frequently met face-to-face with many of the people who influenced him (and those in turn he influenced) over the years. Bergman once wrote:

"My play opens with an actor walking down into the audience, where he strangles a critic, then reads aloud from a little black book all the humiliations he had noted therein. Then he throws up on the audience, after which he exits and puts a bullet through his head."

Bergman with colleague and mentor Victor Sjöström (whom he directed in Wild Strawberries, 1957) director of The Phantom Carriage (1921) one of Bergman's favorite films; He Who Gets Slapped (1924) with Lon Chaney; and The Wind (1928) with Lillian Gish.

Bergman with Charles Chaplin in Stockholm; November, 1964. Chaplin was there to promote the release of his autobiography. Bergman wanted to meet one of his idols. Chaplin's The Circus (1928) also appears on Bergman's top eleven films list from 1994.

Bergman and actress Liv Ullmann visit with Federico Fellini on the set of Fellini's Satyricon in January, 1969. The two masters, and beloved admirers of each other, had met one year before this encounter with plans to collaborate on a film project. The aborted anthology which was to be called Three Stories About Women (later Love Duets) was originally intended to involve a third segment directed by Akira Kurosawa (who declined citing health reasons). Bergman and Fellini's individual efforts soon began to drift apart and eventually the two films were made and released on their own (Bergman's The Touch in 1971 and Fellini's City of Women in 1980).

 Bergman with Walt Disney on a visit to Sweden, 1959. It is not known whether Uncle Walt had an actual interest in Bergman or his work, or if Bergman's studio was just another stop on the itinerary. On a not so completely unrelated note, a particular Donald Duck cartoon has aired on Swedish television every Christmas Eve without fail since 1959 and has become a family tradition in that country.

Bergman shaking hands with director John Boorman (Deliverance; Excalibur; Hope and Glory) in London, 1982. With film historian Peter Cowie and National Film Theatre head Ken Wlaschin in the background.

Bergman with Peter Sellers in costume on the set of Murder by Death (1976); Burbank, California, 1975.

Bergman meets Bruce the shark (one of the three original Bruces) from Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975). This photo was taken by photojournalist John Bryson on a studio back lot several months after the blockbuster film's release. Bergman admired the populist work of Spielberg, as well as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Soderbergh.

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