Bergmanathon: Celebrating One Year of Ingmar Bergman Love

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the day I saw my first Ingmar Bergman films. It was after reading about his movies at The Droid You’re Looking For, and several recommendations from friends, that I launched headfirst into as much Bergman as I could find. I saw two films on March 24, 2011: Through a Glass Darkly and The Seventh Seal. Then, on March 25, I watched Winter Light. On the 26th, I saw The Silence. On the 27th, Wild Strawberries. On the 28th, Cries and Whispers. On the 30th, Persona. On the 3rd of April, I watched Fanny and Alexander, the three-hour cut. On the 11th of April I saw The Hour of the Wolf. On the 16th: Smiles of a Summer Night. The 22nd: Shame. On the 5th of May, The Virgin Spring. Then, in one spectacular film viewing day, the ninth of May 2011, I took a day off work to stay home on the computer and watch as many Bergman films on YouTube as I could find. That day I saw: Autumn Sonata, Crisis, Port of Call, The Magician, Face to Face, Summer Interlude and Summer with Monika. In the coming months I also saw A Passion, Sawdust and Tinsel, The Serpent’s Egg and, on the 11th of November 2011, finally saw the full five-hour version of Fanny and Alexander. To this date, those are the Bergman films I’ve seen. All in one year.

Tonight, I will have the house to myself, and will go ahead with a marathon I’ve carefully organised the last few days. The phone will be turned off, and so will the computer. Don’t expect to see me online or on Twitter. At 6pm, I’ll be eating pizza and starting my Ingmar Bergman career retrospective. Here’s the plan:

6pm: The Seventh Seal

7:40: Wild Strawberries

9:10: Through a Glass Darkly

10:40: Winter Light

12:05: Persona

1:40: Fanny and Alexander – Full TV version

This marathon will last me almost exactly twelve hours. I think I’ve conserved enough sleep to last. The one film that unfortunately didn’t make it into the marathon was Cries and Whispers, but I rewatched that one last night to make up for it. Also, over the next week or so, I’ll be rewatching other Bergman favourites, including Summer Interlude, The Silence, The Hour of the Wolf and Autumn Sonata. I also look forward to the day when I finally get enough guts to buy the Criterion DVD of Scenes from a Marriage, the one big gaping hole in my Bergman viewing.

So… what do you think? How many Bergman films have you seen? Am I missing out big time on Scenes from a Marriage? What other Bergman films do I need to see/rewatch? You guys know best, so let me know in the comments below.

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Posted on March 24, 2012, in Filmmakers, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Christian Hallbeck

    You’ve got another gasping hole in “From the Life of the Marionettes”. You must see this film! (We’ve talked about this before.) It’s a claustrophobic but flawless masterpiece in my opinion. Being filmed in Germany, with German actors, it’s quite different in tone from his Swedish films. I also recommend you to see “Torment” – which he didn’t direct himself, but wrote the manuscript to. It contains a few memorable classroom scenes. Films you can avoid as long as you live, are: “The Devil’s Eye”, “All These Women” and “The Touch” – which are all embarrassments!

    Enjoy your evening (and morning)!

    • I do need to see FROM THE LIFE OF THE MARIONETTES. The second I can find it I will watch it. TORMENT has been on my mind for a long while. I must see it!

  2. This sounds absolutely terrifying. I don’t think I could stomach that much film in one day from anyone, especially not uncle Ingmar.

  3. That seems…uhh intense. I mean if i end up having the house to myself(which is rarely) i will probably watch 1 or 2 films…don’t know if i could handle 6.

    Also i hope you eat something filling before it

  4. You are incredible,man.Some films made me excited and want more right after them,but they are definitely not Bergman films.

  5. Well I’ve only seen two of his films…Seventh Seal and Fanny & Alexander. Liked the later far more in regards to narrative. I hope to try out some more of his films soon.

    • F&A is a great film to start with. Wild Strawberries and Cries and Whispers are where I’d recommend you go next, as they’re both accessible, easy to watch and brilliant.

  6. Bergman is my favorite filmmaker of all time, and your marathon sounds like fucking heaven. I remember last summer, I started Through a Glass Darkly, and stopped after 50 minutes because there was a time-sensitive errand I had to run. I was nearly to my car and I thought, “What the fuck am I do, I can’t just stop.” So I ditched the errand and finished the flick.

    I could go on for hours about the many effects Bergman’s films have had on my life, I am so indebted to his craft.

    Great post, my friend, hope your marathon was amazing.

    • Haha that’s an interesting story. No way I’d be able to stop halfway through my first viewing of that film. It’s hard enough to stop looking at Harriet Andersson, let alone one of her movies.

      My marathon was fucking awesome. Would do it again any night. Exhausting, though.

  7. I’ve seen every Bergman with the exception of a few impossible-to-find TV movies. My top 20 (all in the very good-to-masterpiece range):

    1. Scenes from a Marriage
    2. Fanny and Alexander
    3. The Seventh Seal
    4. Shame
    5. Winter Light
    6. Wild Strawberries
    7. Through a Glass Darkly
    8. Sawdust and Tinsel
    9. Saraband
    10. Autumn Sonata
    11. Thirst
    12. The Silence
    13. The Virgin Spring
    14. Smiles of a Summer Night
    15. In the Presence of a Clown
    16. Summer with Monika
    17. Brink of Life
    18. Cries and Whispers
    19. Persona
    20. Hour of the Wolf

    • That’s a great list. I am pleased with most of it though it’s sad to see Cries and Whispers and Persona so close to the bottom. 😦

      Also, I’m seeing Scenes from a Marriage this week (the 3-hour version tonight, the 5-hour one in the weekend).

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