21st SIFF Tribute to Masters to Screen First Batch of BERGMAN Films
2018 marks the centenary of the birth of legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar BERGMAN. As one stop of the Global Exhibitions for Centenary of Ingmar Bergman, a special panorama for the 100th Anniversary of Ingmar Bergman’s birth will take place during the Shanghai International Film Festival, which is scheduled on 16-25 June.
The special event is a collaboration of SIFF with the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, the Swedish Film Institute and Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai. At the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, the Tribute to Masters program will show the audience the classic films of BERGMAN.
Ingmar BERGMAN was not only one of the greatest directors of Sweden, but also one of the most prestigious artists in the history of cinema. He infused serious critical thinking and profound philosophic thoughts into images and footages, pushing the audience to ponder over the situations the modern people are facing in his self-reflection, and inspiring his numerous successors in a fundamental way.
Summer with Monica
The Seventh Seal
SUMMER WITH MONIKA
Release year: 1953
Starring: Harriet ANDERSSON/ Lars EKBORG/ Dagmar EBBESEN
SUMMER WITH MONIKA, released in 1953, is an important work that established Bergman's international reputation and appeal as a film artist. This is the only youth film he had ever shot, retaining the freedom of that summer all along. The French New Wave director François Truffaut paid tribute to Bergman in his film THE 400 BLOWS: what the little boy tears down when slipping out of the theater is a poster of SUMMER WITH MONIKA.
17-year-old rebellious girl Monika runs away from home. Harry, the boy she admires, steals his father's boat, and the two spend an idyllic summer together. After finding out that she is pregnant, Monika gets married with Harry, which changes her life dramatically – she finds the kid and family overwhelming. One day, Harry leaves town for work and comes home to find his wife with another man. Their marriage thus comes to an end.
Relationships and life are never easy, BERGMAN conveys the idea to his audience through the film. SUMMER WITH MONIKA has been acclaimed by many later master filmmakers, such as Jean-Luc Godard, who argued that the film “is to the cinema of today what THE BIRTH OF A NATION was to the classical cinema”, and defined it as “the most original film by the most original of filmmakers”.
Release year: 1957
Starring: Victor SJÖSTRÖM/ Bibi ANDERSSON/ Ingrid THULIN/ Gunnar BJÖRNSTRAND
BERGMAN once admitted that he was completely conquered by Victor SJÖSTRÖM's movie THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE. In WILD STRAWBERRIES, BERGMAN invited this great Swedish filmmaker that he admired greatly to star in a retrospective of soul, while creating a great movie of his own, equally charismatic.
Grouchy, stubborn and egotistical Professor Isak Borg is a widowed 78-year-old physician. Despite remarkable medical achievements, he still lives a desolate life due to his personality. He sets out on a long car ride to be awarded the degree of Doctor Jubilaris. During the trip, Isak is forced by nightmares and daydreams to reevaluate his life. In the dreams, Isaac recalls the past and completes a journey of spiritual salvation.
With so many prestigious honors such as the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 1960, the greatness of the film can never be defined. But at least one thing can be sure: WILD STRAWBERRIES is widely recognized as one of BERGMAN's greatest works and one of the most important classics in film history. In this representative work of stream of consciousness, BERGMAN reconsidered human nature with dark and cold images, and found the radiance of life in darkness.
THE SEVENTH SEAL
Release year: 1957
Starring: Gunnar BJÖRNSTRAND/ Bengt EKEROT/ Nils POPPE/ Max von SYDOW
To many audience, the Knight playing chess against Death in THE SEVENTH SEAL might be the hallmark of BERGMAN films. It can be said that having not watched THE SEVENTH SEAL equals to having not watched any film of BERGMAN.
The story takes place in the Middle Ages. Disillusioned knight Block and his squire Jöns encounter Death on their way returning from the Crusades. The knight challenges Death to a chess game, on his own life. At that time, Europe is ravaged by the plague. Block meets all kinds of people and sees the good and evil of humanity. He finally realizes that it is not blind faith that can save human, but the passion for life and the mutual love. Still, Block loses the game, and fails to escape from the fate of death in the end.
As in WILD STRAWBERRIES, BERGMAN discussed the ultimate issue of life and death with self-examination in THE SEVENTH SEAL as well, depicting the contradictions between religious belief and real life. The seven characters in the film symbolize the seven sins, and the title THE SEVENTH SEAL is a token of the advent of doom. BERGMAN said he was very afraid of death when he was a kid, but by shooting the movie, he overcame his fear of death.
Release year: 1966
Starring: Bibi Andersson/ Liv Ullmann/ Margaretha Krook/ Gunnar BJÖRNSTRAND
PERSONA is considered one of the most far-reaching works of BERGMAN, leaving traces on works of innumerable filmmakers after him: Woody ALLEN, Claude CHABROL, David CRONENBERG, Lars von TRIER and even Krzysztof KIESLOWSKI.
Elisabet is a stage actress who forgets her lines in a performance. She is hit so hard that she begins to refuse to speak. Nurse Alma comes to a cottage by the sea with Elisabet for rehabilitation. Alma secretly reads the letter Elisabet writes to the doctor and finds that Elisabet is criticizing her in the letter. Furious, Alma accuses Elisabet. In the resulting fight, she threatens to scald Elisabet with boiling water and stops when Elisabet begs her not to. But after everything returns to tranquility, Elisabet begins to make Alma her persona to live with her family. Alma gradually loses herself, and becomes another Elisabet.
PERSONA is considered one of the most experimental films of BERGMAN, who made extensive use of jump cuts and other editing techniques in the film. The concise and nearly abstract images make the film a symbol of avant-garde and modernity at that time. PERSONA explores a range of realistic issues concerning the society, family and sexual repression, revealing the depth of humanity.
Later, we will release more of BERGMAN's masterpieces and related commemorative works that will be shown at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival. Stay tuned.