Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reflections on Life, Death and Love: Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephson

This 52 minute interview of the the two lifelong friends and collaborators in cinema and theater was filmed for TV in 1999. Bergman was 81 and Josephson 75 at the time. The title is pretentious since the subject matter is predominantly the amorous side of their lives. Bergman had around half a dozen marriages, affairs with all his film heroines, and sired numerous offspring, all graciously looked after by their mothers, who, according to him, were equally accommodating not to complain about him to the children. At the end of the day, he emerges as quite a family man, a doting grandfather and great grandfather, easier than being a parent. The last of Bergman's marriages (to another Ingrid, not the actress) lasted twenty four years, and seems to have been the real thing, whatever that means, which his celebrity status probably merits, ending in her death at an early age, leaving him very forlorn. "I was continuously in love since I was fourteen. It started with my puritanical mother, with whom no overt expression was permitted, except when I was sick, so naturally I was sick often, which she, being a nurse, saw through easily." After Ingrid's death, he gave in to his natural propensity for solitude. He refers briefly to the inconveniences of aging, like taking minutes to put a button. We learn little about the wellsprings of his creativity, except perhaps his obsession with Strindberg, whose entire work he devoured at an early age. Professionally, he was focussed, disciplined and tyrannical. About death, he has little to add, except not being too scared. A salacious 52 minutes, worthy of Playboy.

Click HERE for the text of the interview. The video on Youtube is HERE.

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