Ingmar Bergman

T. it.: Il sapone Bris; Cast: John Botvid, Erna Groth. D.: 1’ 10’’

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 1951, at the age of 33, Bergman already had a long career behind him. After the war, the Swedish film industry ran into difficulty. In protest against excessive taxing of the box office, at the end of the year, the industry went on strike. For nine months, film production shut down completely. Quickly, technical crew, actors, and directors found themselves out of work. Bergman was among them. […] He remembers that period as follows: «I had three families to support, six children, I had no money, and I was continually hounded by child protection associations. I was consequently thrilled when they asked me to make the new commercial for Bris soap». […] In these short films, an atmosphere of child’s play reigns, the pleasure of putting on camera a stringless marionette, king, courtiers, and maidens with toothpaste smiles. The commercial, like a detergent which dissolves anxiety and fear (as invisible as germs)? In the air you can feel the taste for divertissement which Bergman attempted to put on camera. That is the reason why he didn’t choose any of the actors he had worked with in the Forties. The faces which had interpreted his obsessions were not suited for play. For Bris, he called upon a group of unknown actors, including a then fifteen-year-old Bibi Andersson, who made her onscreen debut. In these commercials, Bergman found a freedom that official cinema did not allow him. Off with the existential director’s mask: Bergman found the child who, years earlier, discovered the cinema in a camera.

Francesco Bono, in N.T. Binh, Ingmar Bergman. Le magicien du Nord, Paris, Gallimard, 1993