Scen.: Felix Moeller. F.: Börres Weiffenbach. M.: Bettina Böhler. Int.: Liv Ullmann, Ruben Östlund, Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Løve, Carlos Saura, Gunnel Lindblom, Jean-Claude Carrière, Julia Dufvenius, Gaby Dohm, Daniel Bergman, Rita Russek. Prod.: Guy Amon, Benjamin Seikel, Stéphane Sorlat, C-Films, Mondex&cie DCP. D. 95’. Bn e Col.
Margarethe von Trotta delves deep into the life and the character of Ingmar Bergman, with a particular view to showing the role of women, who were more central to Bergman’s practice than any other filmmaker’s. She acts as a guide, narrating this film, giving her point of view as an experienced director in her own right on Bergman’s work and on specific scenes from his films.
What place does Bergman occupy in the minds of today’s filmmakers? In order to answer this question, von Trotta recruits internationally famous actors and directors from a range of different walks of cinema and countries, such as Carlos Saura, Olivier Assayas, Ruben Östlund and Mia Hansen-Løve… The latter is a thirty-six-year-old director whose work contains many strong references to Bergman. Are we witnessing a Bergman revival? Von Trotta angles her interviews to discover which scenes prove most inspirational, where Bergman’s influence shows in their work and what trace, more generally, remains in today’s cinema: subject-matter, characters, relevance.
Ingmar Bergman would have been delighted to learn that ten years after his death Margarethe von Trotta was making a film about him, not just because her movie Two German Sisters was one of his favourite films, but also because she is a woman and he felt a peculiar empathy for women. As he said himself, “There are several women inside me”. In this sense, this film also shows Ingmar Bergman as a tireless advocate for women on either side of the camera. Wim Wenders is quoted as saying that Bergman’s films were obscured by an “opaque screen of opinion” and that they merited to be seen afresh, “without prejudice”. This is what von Trotta’s documentary sets out to do. Her commentary, her eye and the eye of a new generation of actors and filmmakers together renew the way we see Bergman: an entire century of filmmaking seen through the prism of today’s filmmakers.
“At the end of this documentary, I show myself leaning against a big rock by the sea. I feel tiny beside the master that is Bergman. The rock stands for him. It protects me. I stand in the friendly shade of this big rock”.
Margarethe von Trotta