SIFF TRIBUTE TO MASTERS
100th Anniversary of Ingmar Bergman
Summer with Monica
The Seventh Seal
The Virgin Spring
Through A Glass Darkly
Hour Of The Wolf
Cries And Whispers
Fanny And Alexander
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.
The Virgin Spring
Release year: 1960
Starring: Max von SYDOW/ Birgitta VALBERG/ Gunnel LINDBLOM/ Birgitta PETTERSSON
Comment: To Ang LEE, THE VIRGIN SPRING is the No.1 movie by Bergman, which he believes has changed his life after watching it. In the film, Bergman's incisive questioning on human nature, divinity, and the world has shocked many viewers.
THE VIRGIN SPRING is one of Bergman's renowned masterpieces, and the winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the 33rd Academy Awards. Farmer Töre sends his daughter, Karin, to take candles to the church. Unexpectedly, two herders rape and murder Karin on the way, then unknowingly, seek shelter at the home of the murdered girl. Her parents discover that the herders murdered their daughter; in a rage, Töre stabs one of them to death. That same day, the parents find their daughter's body in the forest. Töre vows that he will build a church at the site of his daughter's death. As her parents lift her head from the ground, a spring begins to flow from where she was lying.
THE VIRGIN SPRING expressed Bergman's confusion and suspicion about religion. What is more acclaimed by the audience is the aesthetic images in the film. Following a soft and succinct cinematography style, Bergman didn’t emphasize too much on terror, even in the movie's climax – the killing scene, which also paid tribute to The Last Supper in composition.
Through a Glass Darkly
Release year: 1961
Starring: Harriet ANDERSSON/ Gunnar BJÖRNSTRAND/ Max von SYDOW
Comment: THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY is Bergman's first film shot on the island of Fårö, where he spent the last half of life later. From this movie, he opened a new page in his directing career. The title of the film is inspired by the Christian Bible, representing the gazing of you and me into the truth.
Karin has inherited her mother’s mental illness. Her father David, a writer, takes Karin to a remote island for rehabilitation, together with Karin’s boyfriend Martin and her younger brother Minus. Martin is a doctor and he believes Karin has a chance of recovery. The brother Minus, in his adolescence, is talented, but somehow frustrated. After the four people are settled on the island, the unease deep inside them slowly breeds…
THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1962, and is often considered the first film in Bergman’s trilogy on spiritual issues that includes WINTER LIGHT and THE SILENCE. Bergman later retracted his claim the films form a trilogy, but when people speak of THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, they always refer to it as one of Bergman’s trilogy.
Release year: 1963
Starring: Ingrid THULIN/ Gunnel LINDBLOM
Comment: In THE SILENCE, Bergman managed to portray a pair of sisters in postwar Europe, who are distressed in flesh and soul. The film was originally titled “God’s Silence”, which helped define the coherent theme in Bergman’s trilogy. It is also considered as a prelude to his continuous creation on psychology motif, a transition from philosophy, in the later part of his career.
The story begins with two sisters. The older one Ester is a translator who suffers from lung cancer. She, together with her sister Anna and nephew Johan, is taking a train back to Sweden. On the way, three people rent an apartment in an old hotel. One day, Anna meets a waiter in a cafe. On her return, she fabricates a sexual encounter with the waiter to her sister, and even brings him back to the hotel, enraging her sister. The conflict between the two breaks out.
THE SILENCE is the third film of Bergman’s trilogy, which continues the director's spiritual exploration. With few dialogues, the film is more of a collage consisting of fragmented events. Solemn and dismal, the film overwhelms viewers with loneliness.
Hour of the Wolf
Release year: 1968
Starring: Max von SYDOW/ Liv ULLMANN/ Gertrud FRIDH/ Georg RYDEBERG
Comment: In HOUR OF THE WOLF, Bergman’s regular collaborators, Max von SYDOW and Liv ULLMANN gradually fall into a nightmare maze or maze-like nightmare as the narration goes on. The film title points to the deepest position during the articulation of the nightmare, which is also the time when the anxiety and emptiness of a man reach the extreme. This is a real horror movie, as well as one of Bergman's most mysterious works.
Painter Johan and his young wife Alma live on the small island of Baltrum. Strange dreams are plaguing Johan. He record these dreams in his sketchbook. One day, the owner of a castle, Merkens invites them to his place, where Alma discovers the people there are the same as who have appeared in her husband's sketchbook. She begs her husband to stay away from them. When Johan returns home, he confides to his wife that he has killed a kid on the edge of the cliff. The next day, when Johan comes to the castle again, he sees a ritual of demons...
In the movie, we can get a glimpse of Bergman's deconstruction of fear. Surrealism and thriller elements are combined to display the inner connection between artistic creation and insanity.
Cries and Whispers
Release year: 1972
Starring: Harriet ANDERSSON/ Kari SYLWAN/ Ingrid THULIN/ Liv ULLMANN/ Erland JOSEPHSON
Comment: As proclaimed by Bergman himself, among all his works, this is the one and only that cannot be pondered over without the context of color. To him, red is the color of soul. A sophisticated work following PERSONA and HOUR OF THE WOLF, your unmistakable choice for Bergman panorama.
The story is about three sisters, Agnes, Maria and Karin, who are facing respective hardships in life. Dying of uterine cancer, Agnes wants to ease the tension between her sisters before she dies, as she hasn’t received the affection from her mother. However, things just go contrary. Although Maria is their mother's favorite child, her romantic relationship is a mess, hesitating between her husband and former lover; Karin's life is full of repression, struggling with self-harm to repel her husband.
Bergman is very delicate when handling female themes. By describing the kinship and contradiction among three sisters, Bergman conveyed the complexity of human nature and the struggle of lives. Another prominent highlight of the film is the director's bold use of color: during Agnes's gradual death, Bergman applied bright and vibrant colors to render a beautiful and tender scene, so that viewers will not completely sink into despair.
Release year: 1978
Starring: Ingrid BERGMAN/ Liv ULLMANN/ Lena NYMAN
Comment: Shot during the time when the director was drifting overseas due to an accusation, the film is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece in Bergman’s later phase, and also the final work of celebrated actress Ingrid BERGMAN.
AUTUMN SONATA tells a story of a mother and a daughter. Charlotte is a world renowned pianist, but also an unsuccessful mother. She is estranged from her daughter Eva for seven years. After learning that Charlotte's second husband died, Eva invites her mother to live with her. Both trying to be nice to each other, it is still hard to avoid reviving the past.
AUTUMN SONATA won the 1979 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was also nominated for two Academy Awards at the same year. Distinctive characters, calm camera language, soft and bright colors, and the dominating background music make this seemingly monotonous movie an important experimental work of Ingmar BERGMAN.
Fanny and Alexander
Release year: 1982
Starring: Kristina ADOLPHSON/ Börje AHLSTEDT/ Pernilla ALLWIN
Comment: Bergman's autobiographical work, which was also stated by himself as “his last feature film”. In FANNY AND ALEXANDER flows the rare gentleness of this tough filmmaker, as well as the modern touch that has gone beyond the times. It is “the most approachable movie of Bergman”.
Oscar and his wife, Emilie, run a theater. When rehearsing on the stage one day, Oscar dies from a stroke, leaving behind Emilie and their son and daughter: ten-year-old Alexander and five-year-old Fanny. Shortly thereafter, Emilie, marries Edward, a young bishop, later turning out to be a cruel and ruthless hypocrite. To control Emilie, he confines the children to their bedroom. With the help of businessman Isak, they finally escape from the house, and Edward is burned to death.
Depicted by 60 speaking characters and over 1,200 figurants, FANNY AND ALEXANDER is a family chronicle that incorporates comedy, tragedy and thriller. The film was honored a number of awards including the Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Foreign Language Film at the 56th Academy Awards.
Works by Luis BUÑUEL
DIARY OF CHAMBERMAID
BEAUTY OF THE DAY
THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE
THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE
Release year: 1961
Starring: Silvia PINAL/ Francisco RABAL/ Fernando REY/ José CALVO/ Margarita LOZANO
A young nun Viridiana is about to take her vows. Her mother superior suggests her to visit her uncle Jaime, who has been providing financial support for her for a long time. When Jaime sees his niece, he is struck by her strong resemblance to his deceased wife. He asks her to marry him, and anesthetizes her when he is rejected. The next day, Jaime commits suicide. Viridiana decides to stay in uncle’s house, and collects some beggars and installs them in an outbuilding. At this time, Jaime’s bastard Jorge moves into the house with his girlfriend...
The film was the winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival.
DIARY OF CHAMBERMAID
Release time: 1964
Starring: Michel PICCOLI/ Jeanne MOREAU
The 1900 novel of the same name by Octave MIRBEAU was beloved by a number of directors, including Buñuel, Jean RENOIR, and Benoît JACQUOT, who created a rework just three years ago. Films adapted from the novel are always rendered a blunt force, impressing the audience in almost any era.
An educated and introvert young woman, Célestine, arrives from Paris to become chambermaid for a family at their country chateau in Provence. She soon discovers that it is a pretty erosive family, full of hypocrisy and quirks. Just when Celestine is about to leave here and return to Paris, a sudden murder changes her mind. Celestine decides to stay and figure out the truth.
BEAUTY OF THE DAY
Release year: 1967
Starring: Catherine DENEUVE/ Jean SOREL/ Michel PICCOLI/ Geneviève PAGE
Séverine, a young and beautiful housewife, is unable to share physical intimacy with her husband. On afternoons when her husband is at work, she secretly works at a brothel, and is named “Belle de Jour (Beauty of the Day)”. At home, she is a noble and virtuous wife; in the brothel, she completely releases herself. Séverine meets many people there, including a young gangster, Marcel.
It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1967.
Release year: 1970
Starring: Catherine DENEUVE/ Fernando REY/ Franco NERO
Tristana’s mother entrusts her to don Lope before she dies. The aging Lope lives a worry-free life. He has a strong character, and values honor, but is also a known lecher in the town. Tristana feels depressed in their home. In an outing, she meets a young artist, and falls in love with him. After learning about the situation of Tristana, the painter beats up Lope, and the two leave the town. Soon after, Tristana falls ill, and the painter could only seek help from Lope...
THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE
Release year: 1972
Starring: Fernando REY/ Paul FRANKEUR/ Delphine SEYRIG/ Bulle OGIER/ Jean-Pierre CASSEL
It is a story about a group of six bourgeois friends trying to organize gatherings, but constantly interrupted by accidents, thus failing to enjoy one delicious meal. They plan a total of 8 meetings, but none of them finally succeeds, due to a variety of reasons, such as misremembering the date of meal, the accidental encounter of a funeral, and the interference by a military drill. Later, things become more and more weird…
The film won an array of renowned awards, including the Best Foreign Language Film of Academy Awards 1973, and the BAFTA Film Award for Best Screenplay in 1974.
THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE
Release year: 1977
Starring: Fernando REY/ Carole BOUQUET/ Ángela MOLINA/ Julien BERTHEAU
A French gentleman Mathieu is travelling by train from Seville to Paris. In the carriage, he meets a mother and a daughter, a dwarf and a friend of his cousin. Before the train starts, a woman hurriedly gets on the train with her luggage. Mathieu pours a bucket of water over her head, which puzzles other people there.
After returning to the carriage, Mathieu explains the history of the two: The woman is a Spanish maid working at his older brother’s house, Conchita. Her beauty has deeply attracted Mathieu. In order to show his love, he helps Conchita and her mother to get rid of financial difficulties, and then proposes to be her lover. She tantalizes Mathieu with promises, but never says yes to him. Conchita's antics cause the couple to break up and reunite repeatedly, which makes him very annoyed; especially when he discovers that the woman, who claims to be a virgin, actually has other lovers.
Public Screening: 2K Restoration 《NURSY’S DIARY》
Release year: 1957
Directed by: TAO Jin
Starring: WANG Danfeng/ TANG Huada/ LI Wei/ HUANG Wansu
The nursing school student Jian Suhua (Wang Danfeng), disregarding the objection of her lover Shen Haoru (Li Wei), volunteers to go to a medical station of a construction site in the Chinese Northeastern region upon graduation. However, in the medical station, the chief Mo Jiabin (Fu Botang) and the nurse Gu Huiying (Jiang Tianliu) are having a romantic relationship, thus neglecting their work. The workers there have a lot of complaints. When Jian arrives, Mo Jiabin does a lot of things to please her, which causes Gu Huiying’s misunderstandings.
Enduring much pain and displeasure, Jian is still devoted wholeheartedly to her work, which wins the acclaim of workers, as well as the heart of the director of the site, Gao Changping (Tang Huada). But Shen Haoru suddenly comes to the construction site, intending to take Jian back to Shanghai and marry her. But the two break up in discord. After the construction finishes, Gao Changping takes his team to a new construction site. Before departure, he invites Jian to join him. The two finally decide to serve the hardest and most in need regions together.
Works by XIE Jin
HIBISCUS TOWN 4K Restored
STAGE SISTERS 4K Restored
BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI in Shanghai Dialect
WOMAN BASKETBALL PLAYER NO.5
THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN
LEGEND OF TIANYUN MOUNTAIN
HIBISCUS TOWN 4K Restored Version（1986）
Starring: LIU Xiaoqing, JIANG Wen
In the early 1960s, Hu Yuyin, a beautiful and diligent young woman in Hibiscus Town, runs a rice tofu stall with her husband, Li Guigui. The booming business incurs hatred from Li Guoxiang, the state-run restaurant manager. After several “movements”, Li Guigui is forced to commit suicide. Later, Hu Yuyin falls in love with Qin Shutian, a “rightist” who cleans the streets.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Gu Hua. In 1987, it grasped Best Feature Film, Best Actress and three other awards at the 7th Golden Rooster Awards, and Best Feature Film, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 10th Hundred Flowers Awards. In 1988, it was also honored with the Crystal Globe at the 26th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Starring: ZHU Shimao, CONG Shan
The intellectuals Xu Lingjun, is labeled as a “rightist” and transferred from the big city to a pasture in Northwest China for labor reform. He is cared for by the local herdsmen and gets married with the kind and pure village girl Li Xiuzhi. After the “Cultural Revolution”, he gives up his chance of inheriting his father's career and migrating to the United States, and decides to stay and make contributions to the motherland.
Based on the noted work by ZHANG Xianliang, the movie is the winner of Outstanding Film by the Ministry of Culture in 1982 and Best Feature Film at the 6th Hundred Flowers Awards in 1983.
LEGEND OF TIANYUN MOUNTAIN（1981）
Starring: SHI Weijian, WANG Fuli, SHI Jianlan, ZHONG Xinghuo, HONG Xuemin, NIU Ben
Luo Qun, the political commissar is labeled as a rightist and abandoned by his fiancée Song Wei. Wu Yao, who likes persecuting other, while getting rapid promotion, is married with Song Wei. At the time when Luo Qun was in danger, Song Wei’s classmate Feng Qinglan extends her warm and trustful hands. When Luo Qun's case is rehabilitated, Feng Qinglan passes away because of overwork.
The film is adapted from LU Yanzhou's novel of the same name, known for its bold and profound revelation and reflection on the tragedy of the times. After public release, it produced strong social response. The film was awarded Outstanding Film by the Ministry of Culture in 1980; Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction at the 1st Golden Rooster Awards in 1981; and Best Film at the 4th Hundred Flowers Awards.
STAGE SISTERS 4K Restored Version（1965）
Starring: XIE Fang, CAO Yindi, SHANGGUAN Yunzhu
In the early 1940s, when the Shaoxing opera artists Zhu Chunhua and Xing Yuehong are performing in Shaoxing, they are persecuted by local vicious power. Master Xing asks them to stay true to their opera cause and rule of life before passing away. Three years later, Chunhua and Yuehong become celebrities in Shanghai. Chunhua remains down-to-earth but Yuehong grows steadily more materialistic and is married the theater owner Manager Tang. Chunhua is prepared to re-appropriate LU Xun's novel The New Year Sacrifice, but is vandalized by reactionary forces. Yuehong is finally awakened after experiencing abuses by Manager Tang. The sisters get reunited on the stage and sing the Butterfly Lovers together.
The film that presented the rough fate of Shaoxing opera performers during the transition between old and new China has caused great sensation after release. For the movie, XIE Jin was awarded the Sutherland Trophy at the 24th British Film Institute Awards in 1980, the Golden Eagle Award at the Manila International Film Festival in 1981, and the Jury Award at the 12th Figue-ira da Foz International Film Festival in 1983.
In 2014, as the first color film restored by the Shanghai International Film Festival, the 4K version of STAGE SISTERS became the opening movie of the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival.
BIG LI, LITTLE LI AND OLD LI（1962）
Starring: YAO Debing, LIU Xiasheng, FAN Haha, WEN Binbin
Big Li, chairman of the labor union in a meat processing factory in Shanghai, is a warm-hearted person. He is active in work, but doesn’t like sports, so his physical condition is worrying. Old Li, workshop director, believes that work is far more important than sports. He is very unhappy with his son Little Li, who is so passionate about sports activities. After being elected chairman of the factory's sports association, Big Li not only becomes a sports enthusiast himself, but also inspires Old Li to participate. The sports movement is thus vigorously carried out in the factory.
The film revolves around the different attitudes of three generations of people towards sports. Endowed with strong comedy color and breath of life, it makes people laugh and reflect at the same time.
Works by James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger / Michael Biehn / Linda Hamilton
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio / Kate Winslet / Billy Zane
After the 1985s discovery of the Titanic in the North Atlantic, American treasure-seeker Lovett tries to retrieve artifacts from the submerged ship. Lovett looks for diamonds but finds a drawing of a young woman, nude except for a diamond necklace. When 102-year-old Rose reveals she's the person in the portrait, she starts to tell her story of the 56-carat diamond necklace and her experiences of 84 years earlier. The scene then shifts to 1912 Southampton where passengers boarding the Titanic include penniless Jack and society girl Rose, returning to Philadelphia with her wealthy fiance Cal. Rose is less than thrilled at the prospect of spending the rest of her life with Cal, and contemplates throwing herself off the stern of the ship, only to be persuaded otherwise by Jack. Despite coming from opposite ends of the social scale, the couple soon fall in love. At midpoint in the film, the Titanic slides against the iceberg and water rushes into the front compartments...
Starring: Sam Worthington / Zoe Saldana / Sigourney Weaver / Stephen Lang / Michelle Rodriguez