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Bergman's Last Film

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:19 am
I found this on Yahoo...

[b]A million Swedes watch Ingmar Bergman's latest film -- and last?[/b]

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - One million Swedes tuned in to watch the latest film by stage and screen legend Ingmar Bergman, "Saraband", which premiered on Swedish Television, the public broadcaster said.

Bergman, 85, has said "Saraband", a sequel to his 1973 film "Scenes from a Marriage", will mark the end of his career.

Described by the director himself as a "concerto grosso for four soloists", "Saraband" returns to Marianne and Johan, the couple portrayed by Bergman's ex-wife Liv Ullmann and longtime friend Erland Josephson in the 1972 movie and who resumed the roles this time around.

Thirty years after their divorce, Marianne visits Johan who lives with a son he hates, Henrik, played by Boerje Ahlstedt, and his granddaughter Karin, portrayed by the young Julia Dufvenius, whom tabloid Aftonbladet called "Bergman's latest chick".

Julia is a promising cellist who studies under her father. She is coping with her father's incestuous obsession, while he is incapable of mourning his wife Anna who died two years ago.

Twelve percent of the Swedish population, and 30 percent of those watching television, watched the film, named after a Bach cello suite.

The Swedish press gave it warm reviews, though leading daily Dagens Nyheter said it regretted that it was not "a spotless grand finale -- and certainly not the film that we would have liked to see."

Whether or not the film will be shown in cinemas worldwide remains uncertain however, as Bergman has complained of the poor quality of the images -- the film was recorded in digital technology -- describing it as "catastrophic" in an interview with Aftonbladet.

He also said the film's stringent, austere and theatre-like style heavy on the dialogue would not work well on the big screen.

Bergman has repeatedly announced his retirement -- after his wife's death in 1995 he described life as "a comfortable hell" and vowed he would never film again.

But the man who traded 100 tin soldiers with his older brother to get his first movie camera has proved unable to stop creating, and he has remained active with film and theatre projects.

He has however slowed down somewhat. During the shooting of "Saraband" in Stockholm, he worked only every other day.

Since the death of his wife, the last of the great postwar European filmmakers has lived in seclusion on the Baltic Sea island of Faeroe.

Bergman first won international acclaim in 1956, when "Smiles of a Summer Night" was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. He has since made more than 100 plays and some 50 films, including "Cries and Whispers", "Wild Strawberries", "The Seventh Seal" and "Fanny and Alexander", which won four Academy Awards.