Saturday, 11 July 2009

Festival in Tbilisi

I had long wanted to do an Ingmar Bergman festival in Georgia, and it was of course very fulfilling that not only did it happen but that it was such a wonderful success. All screenings were sold out and the response was excellent. I had chosen five films, Summer Interlude (Sommarlek 1951), Sawdust and Tinsel (Gycklarnas afton 1953), The Magician (Ansiktet 1958), Persona (1966) and The Autumn Sonata (Höstsonaten 1978), based on the theme "Portraits of Performers", to give a broad and varied overview of Bergman's work. The first two are my personal favourites among Bergman's films. Summer Interlude is seldom seen, and hardly known at all, and I was somewhat nervous of how it would be regarded. But the comments I heard put a shame to my fears. They thought it was very good, very moving, and they wondered why they had never heard of it before. A valid question. During the years I've been working in the world of Bergman, I've always tried to push forward the lesser known films, Some of them are among his best and it's somewhat boring that it's always all about Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället 1957), The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet 1957) and Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander 1982), no matter how good they all are.

Speaking of unknowns, yesterday I for the first time saw his early film Music in Darkness (Musik i mörker 1948), Rather terrible, but with one or two good scenes. Mai Zetterling is the best thing about it and a hallucination sequence in the beginning which wouldn't have looked out of place in a film by Michael Powell.

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