BERGMAN ON BERGMAN: Interviews with Ingmar Bergman by Stig; Torsten Manns & Jonas Sima Bjorkman

BERGMAN ON BERGMAN: Interviews with Ingmar Bergman

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The script of these four-way conversations with film-maker Ingmar Bergman verges on unintentional comedy. His interlocutors, three editors of the Swedish journal Chaplin, are deeply serious and analytical while Bergman, the ultimate artist of the penultimate medium, is loose, free-associative, playful, childlike, and as patient with his clumsy disciples as R. Crumb's Mr. Natural, viz. ""JS: . . . What I can't make up my mind about is what you mean by the scene, what it symbolizes? IB: For me it doesn't symbolize anything."" As Bergman complains, these relentless exegetic critics deliver little lectures, then leave him too wide a field to expatiate on. One can almost hear the sulkiness in his voice: ""I feel depressed, because it isn't a concrete question."" They are reluctant to believe his method is as simple as he claims, that he operates solely on intuition to manufacture dreams, using actors as his chief instruments. These eleven conversations proceed from Bergman's first memories of film, through a discussion of influences and ideologies (he denies having any, of course) then systematically, film by film, through his thirty-year career. It's hare and hounds all the way, with scattered insights among the deliberate obscurantism. When Sima attempts to pin him Bergman offers: ""Anyone who gradually discovers there's something artistic about himself, something tumultous and unclear, that he's an intellectually suspect hodgepodge, becomes somewhat guarded"" . . . and suddenly changes the subject to the effect of Hitchcock's obesity on his camera work! A book no less difficult than his Films and a must for Bergman aficionados. All credit is due the Chaplin editors for assaying the cinema's most elusive monolithic genius.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1974
Publisher: Simon & Schuster