5 Memorable Moments in Ingmar Bergman Movies

Continuing the “5 Memorable” series (now with its own banner :-)) is a selection of five memorable moments (or scenes) in the awesome movies of Swedish legend filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. In no particular order:

1: The Seventh Seal: Death Meets Antonius:

The only clip I can find for this scene is not subtitled, but the iconic image pretty much speaks for itself:

2: Winter Light: Ingrid Thulin’s Letter:

A shockingly extended and beautifully performed monologue, this static, almost unbroken shot of Ingrid Thulin’s character professing her true feelings for a religiously doubtful Gunnar Bjornstrand is timeless, and fantastic.

 3: Persona: The Repeated Scene:

One of many fantastic scenes from Bergman’s best movie is the gutwrenching scene in which we see Liv Ullman listening to Bibi Andersson tell her the truth about herself (well, themselves), only to have, in a sickening twist, the camera turned around as we are forced to hear the entire monologue again, this time with the camera focusing on Andersson. It’s a fascinating technique, and a very effective one. Don’t forget to turn on the closed captions so you know what she’s saying.

4: Cries and Whispers: How You Have Changed

Some great acting here. Cries and Whispers is a film filled to the brim with raw emotion, and this scene manages to capture a lot of it so beautifully.

5: Fanny and Alexander: The Prologue

Largely thanks to Bergman and his cinematographer Sven Nykvist, we have this magnificent epic film, in which every shot and every scene is so beautifully executed that just looking at any of the film’s brilliant scenes is full of so much raw beauty that it’s hard to comprehend how one human being imagined it all to be so perfect.

So those are my five selections. Now I need to know…

Leave a comment with what you thought of my choices. Do you like Ingmar Bergman? What’s your favourite moment, scene or movie from this master? Let me know.

Thanks for reading.


About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on May 23, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. LOVE this list. It’d be impossible for me to choose just five. Other contenders:

    -the Spider-God speech in Winter Light (though I agree that Thulin’s letter was more significant)

    -the finale of Through a Glass Darkly, when the helicopter arrives to take Karin away

    -the jaw-dropping finale of The Virgin Spring (I shan’t say more for spoilers and such)

    -the clowns-and-cannons scene in Sawdust and Tinsel

    -Stig accepting his fate at the end of To Joy

    -Bjornstrand’s speech in the rain about not wanting children in Wild Strawberries

    -the child biting Von Sydow’s foot on the bluffs in Hour of the Wolf (which was actually right out of Bergman’s childhood… sort of)

    There are others but I could go on and on. Great list!

    • I’ve seen all the ones you just mentioned except for To Joy and Sawdust & Tinsel. I had some tough choices to make and the end of The Virgin Spring would have been #6 if I had added more.

  2. One of my favorite’s is PERSONA. The part when Liv Ullman is telling Bibi Andersson the story about when she had a threesome in the beach, is the most erotic scene I have ever seen and it all in a dialogue!

    Also the scene in The Seventh Seal when they are about to burn up the witch and she is ask from Jons how the devil’s look like!!!

  3. so many moments in persona
    -the opening of the film starting with the projector starting up and culminating in a series of disturbing images
    -the out of focus shot of elisabet that suddenly snaps into focus
    -the repeated monologue

    -the scene where Von Sydow tears down a tree in The Virgin Spring
    -the scene where Isaak rescues the children in Fanny and Alexander, in particular the moment the camera zooms into him and the lights get bright
    -the climax of The Magician
    -Harriet crying in pain in Cries and Whispers, more difficult to watch than anything i’ve ever seen
    -Isak’s nightmare at the beginning of Wild Strawberries

    and so many others

    • Wonderful choices. In all fairness I wrote this post a while back, and to limit the list to 5 was a stupid idea. I could do a list of 50 if I want, and you know what… I think I will. I’ve seen 35 Bergman films, so I have a few left to see, but once I tackle those I’ll do a series of retrospective posts about his whole career in detail.

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