Repertory Series

A Tribute To Ingmar Bergman
Friday, December 7 - Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The film world was rocked this past August by the almost simultaneous loss of two cinematic giants: Michalangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. While Boston cineastes will have to wait a while for a real tribute to Antonioni (many of his films are notoriously unavailable in the US), the Brattle is pleased to present this retrospective of the films that Bergman made with one of his most influential muses, Liv Ullman. This series features all of the films that these two greats created in concert, including one of Bergman's most indelible films, PERSONA, and his last theatrically released feature, SARABAND. In between there is plenty of room to witness the true genius of this film legend. Come see why it has been said that, before Bergman, movies were just movies, but after they became art.

Film Descriptions, Dates & Showtimes

Friday 12/7 at 8:00

(1966) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson [85 min]
PERSONA is arguably Ingmar Bergman’s most challenging and rewarding film. Elisabeth Vogler (Ullmann) is an accomplished stage actress who, in the middle of performing Elektra, ceases to speak. Sister Alma (Andersson) is the young nurse assigned to care for her and so she takes Elisabeth to the attending physician’s remote summer house to facilitate her recuperation. Eventually, it becomes difficult to know where Elisabeth stops and Alma begins. A fascinating character study and a masterful art film puzzle.

Saturday 12/8 at 3:00, 7:15

Double Feature w/THE HOUR OF THE WOLF
(1968) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Max Von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand [103 min]
SHAME marks the culmination of the wartime themes that Bergman began to explore in The Silence and PERSONA. Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow play a couple of musicians who live in a rural, island cottage. Rather suddenly a fictionalized civil war erupts, forcing them into isolation and poverty. Though Bergman references Vietnam the film is not directly politicized. Instead he engages overarching images of conflict in order to tackle the idea of war itself. The characters’ desire for survival, love and to maintain their humanity creates one of Bergman’s most compelling works. With SHAME, Liv Ullmann said she felt she was doing something important for human beings.

Saturday 12/8 at 5:15

Double Feature w/SHAME
The Hour Of The Wolf
(1968) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Max Von Sydow, Erland Josephson [90 min]
This gothic masterpiece is Bergman’s only horror film. Max von Sydow plays a painter who lives in seclusion with his pregnant wife (Ullmann). In HOUR OF THE WOLF Bergman examines the fragility of an artistic mind. The painter is haunted by insomnia and visions of demons. The title refers to the hour of the night when his nightmares come to life. As the painter endures surreal and horrific encounters, Bergman refuses to create a clear distinction between fantasy and reality. The visions that haunt von Sydow’s artist seem utterly fantastical and yet resonate as a terrifying reality. HOUR OF THE WOLF is both a frightening portrait of surreal experiences and a tragic depiction of insanity.

Sunday 12/9 at 2:30, 7:15

Double Feature w/SERPENT'S EGG
The Passion Of Anna
(1969) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Max Von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson [101 min]
Andreas (von Sydow) lives in relative isolation after being abandoned by his wife. However, he gradually befriends a trio of fellow islanders. Initially, Andreas is drawn into an affair with his friend’s wife and, later, one with her passionate friend Anna (Ullmann). Though Andreas is forewarned that Anna is both physically and mentally destructive he cannot resist her. With THE PASSION OF ANNA, Bergman completed his unofficial island trilogy. Through the space of the island Bergman is able to explore the experiences of people literally cut off from the rest of the world. However, even in the most isolated of circumstances, his characters endure the intense struggle for human connection.

Sunday 12/9 at 4:45

Double Feature w/THE PASSION OF ANNA
Serpent's Egg
(1977) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, David Carradine, Heinz Bennent [119 min]
Bergman often described his boyhood dreams of a mysterious, foreign city; though similar to Berlin it could not quite be aligned with anywhere found in reality. With THE SERPENT’S EGG, Bergman is finally able to realize this dream space. THE SERPENT’S EGG takes place in 1920’s Berlin and depicts a city and lifestyle on the verge of collapse. Bergman’s only English language feature pairs Carradine as a traveling circus performer with Ullmann as his widowed sister-in-law. THE SERPENT’S EGG blends the cityscape of Bergman’s dreams with the harsh reality of a Berlin ceding to the horrors of Nazism and anti-Semitism.

Monday 12/10 at 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Face To Face
(1976) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson [114 min]
FACE TO FACE is one of Bergman’s most direct explorations of the experience of mental illness. Liv Ullmann plays a psychiatrist who potently and painfully endures a mental breakdown and suicide attempt. The past and present blend as Ullmann returns to her childhood home and is forced to confront the demons of her past. Her disintegration from sanity to madness questions the nature of the human mind, self-control, and the methods of modern psychiatry. With FACE TO FACE Ullmann gives one of her most outstanding performances to date.
Not available on video.

Tuesday 12/11 at 7:30 • Double Feature w/CRIES AND WHISPERS

Autumn Sonata
(1978) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Ingrid Bergman [99 min]
In a long-planned collaboration between director and star, Ingrid Bergman (in an Oscar-nominated performance and her last feature role) returned to Swedish cinema after forty years to play a concert pianist coming home to an anguished reunion with neglected daughter Liv Ullmann. – Notes from the Film Forum, NYC

Tuesday 12/11 at 5:15, 9:30

Double Feature w/AUTUMN SONATA
Cries And Whispers
(1972) dir Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin [106 min]
CRIES AND WHISPERS concerns the death of Agnes (Andersson), a young woman who, in the 1800s, is in the final stages of some form of cancer. During her last days in her mansion, she is cared for by her faithful maid, Anna (Sylwan), and her sisters, Karin (Thulin) and Maria (Ullmann).

"Like no movie I’ve seen before, and like no movie Ingmar Bergman has made before; although we are all likely to see many films in our lives, there will be few like this one. It is hypnotic, disturbing, frightening… It envelops us in a red membrane of passion and fear, and in some way that I do not fully understand it employs taboos and ancient superstitions to make its effect. We slip lower in our seats, feeling claustrophobia and sexual disquiet, realizing that we have been surrounded by the vision of a film maker who has absolute mastery of his art." — Roger Ebert

Wednesday 12/12 at 8:00

(2003) dir Ingmar Bergman w/ Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson [120 min]
With SARABAND, Bergman once again crafted a poignant masterpiece in what proved to be his cinematic swan song. Even at 87-years-old, the great director lost none of his flair for beautiful sadness nor any of the brilliance with which he has become known for. Acting as a sequel to the classic 1973 TV mini-series Scenes From A Marriage, SARABAND continues the saga of ex-spouses Marianne (Ullmann) and Johan (Josephson). Their tumultuous relationship continues and critics and audience were happy to once again be along for the ride.

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