Jane Magnusson directs and narrates a sensitive yet unflinching documentary that exposes the darker, less well-known side to one of the most famous figures in world cinema.
Focusing on 1957, a landmark year in which the incredibly prolific Ingmar Bergman directed two films and four plays, Magnusson explores not only the director’s films, but also his complex personality, and his turbulent private life. This centennial portrait of the great Swedish writer-director is perceptive, penetrating and packed with wonderful footage. Magnusson’s documentary centres on 1957, a turbulent but miraculously productive year when Bergman, besides unveiling The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries and working extensively in theatre and TV, led a messily complicated domestic life that included a spell in hospital. This focus is merely the springboard for a survey that spirals out to embrace everything from childhood to old age, touching on his many creative achievements, his strengths and failings as a man, and the way his art derived from his life. Illuminating anecdotes are offered by many who knew him – none, however, perhaps quite as revealing as Ingmar’s own testimony.