Bergman begets Bergman

“Watch an Ingmar Bergman flick” was my one new thing of the month in February. Got through four (Virgin Spring, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Autumn Sonata) of the six films I checked out from the library before accepting the fact that I’m just not that interested in old Swedish movies. I also read Ingmar Bergman’s autobiography, The Magic Lantern; found some windows into his humanity and our shared humanity, but mostly I just felt indifferent about his life. A question about his relationship to Ingrid Bergman did come up for me. At one point he was married to a woman named Ingrid, but it turns out it was a different Ingrid than the actress that starred in various Hollywood films and one of his films, Autumn Sonata.

Ingrid Bergman’s life is way more fascinating to me. Kagen and I went to go see Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, a documentary by Stig Björkman—how convenient and thoughtful of the powers that be to present that film to me this month! The film uses home video footage taken by Ingrid Bergman (she constantly toted around her video camera) and letters she wrote to a few of her close friends, to narrate. There are also interviews with the children she had, which offer a heartfelt and sometimes painful perspective of her life that was far from conventional for a woman in those days. I thought the film was done really well; I can’t imagine how many hours of footage were viewed to get to the well edited final film.

Going in to this PY35 One New Thing activity, I didn’t expect to end up learning (and liking) more about Ingrid Bergman than Ingmar Bergman. But that’s the thing about exploring new things, you never know where they’ll lead you.

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