By Jaap Mees
Great news: the Swedish Master film director Ingmar Bergman has just finished shooting his last film, Sarabande, at the age of 84(!), twenty years after his fabulous swansong Fanny and Alexander. One of the cinema highlights of 2003 will be a complete season of his films in the National Film Theatre from January 1- February 28, and then touring throughout the UK from Bath to York. With extended runs of arguably two of his best films: the humane and wise Wild Strawberries and thrilling and magical Persona. The first time I entered Bergman’s universe was when I was about 15 years old, secretly I watched Scenes From A Marriage late at night on tv, I didn’t understand everything, but was already spellbound by the enormous intensity in which a married couple were tearing each other apart. Later on I saw that mysterious filmPersona in which a nurse and an actress who doesn’t want to speak any more, gradually change identity. Since then I became a great fan of Bergman, who restored the big close up, not much used since Carl Dreyer. He portrays people’s faces as ever changing human landscapes. What makes Ingmar Bergman unique? He has the ability and the courage to delve deep in to the human psyche and soul and is not afraid to show what he finds there, however dark and disturbing. Especially in this time we live in now, which seems so obsessed with trivial outward appearances and excessive technical progress, it’s necessary that refined filmmakers like Bergman, remind you of the true state of the inner human being. The Swedish Maestro is also one of the best actor directors ever, he guided talented actors like Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson and Bibi Andersson to great heights. Bravo NFT for putting on this season and long live Ingmar Bergman!