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|07-30-2007, 09:28 AM||#1|
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Join Date: Feb 03, 2002
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Swedish film icon Ingmar Bergman dies at 89
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Legendary Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, who influenced a generation of film-makers with his often stark works on themes of mortality and sexual torment, died on Monday at the age of 89.
The self-taught film-maker and scriptwriter died in the morning at his home on Faro Island in the Baltic Sea, Cissi Elwin, chief executive of the Swedish Film Institute, said.
"It's a very big loss today," Elwin said. "It's very, very strange and very unreal because Ingmar Bergman is so much (a part of) Swedish film."
Earlier this month, Bergman put in a brief appearance at the annual celebration on Faro Island of his half-century career but remained in a wheelchair and seemed very tired, she said.
Bergman was famed for films such as "Wild Strawberries", "Scenes From a Marriage" and "Fanny and Alexander" -- a classic that won four Oscars -- which brought Sweden a reputation for melancholy but made him an acknowledged master of modern cinema.
His work, in all, encompassed 54 films, 126 theatre productions and 39 radio plays.
His cinematic masterpieces often dwelt on sexual confusion, loneliness and the vain search for the meaning of life -- themes he ascribed to a traumatic childhood in which he was beaten by his father, a Lutheran minister.
"He was one of the great ones," Jorn Donner, producer of Bergman's "Fanny and Alexander", told Reuters.
"I knew him for more than 50 years."
"Fanny and Alexander", the director's last big screen production which was heavily autobiographical, tells the story of an upper-class Uppsala family before World War One.
The boy protagonist, Alexander, and his sister Fanny are mentally and physically abused by their stepfather -- a bishop modeled on Bergman's father. Alexander at last uses supernatural powers to take a sinister revenge.
News of Bergman's death prompted an outpouring in local media while Swedish television interrupted regular broadcasting to pay homage.
"I believe that it is hard to fully comprehend the contribution that Ingmar Bergman made to Swedish film and drama," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement. "His works are immortal."
Elwin said the Swedish Film Institute planned a memorial night in August and would invite film historians and colleagues from the acting world to pay tribute to Bergman.
Offstage, Bergman's private life often thrust him into the limelight. He was married five times to beautiful and gifted women and had liaisons with his leading actresses. Bergman had nine children.
Bergman told Reuters in a rare interview in 2001 that personal demons tormented and inspired him throughout his life.
"The demons are innumerable, appear at the most inconvenient times and create panic and terror," he said at the time. "But I have learnt that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage."
He gained international recognition with the 1956 film "The Seventh Seal", set in the Middle Ages, in which a crusader searching for God and the meaning of life plays chess with Death. It won the jury prize at the 1957 Cannes film festival.
He won Academy Awards for best foreign language film in 1960, 1961 and 1983, and a collection of his work was last month added to the UNESCO store of history's greatest archives.
The director's self-proclaimed retirement from big screen productions followed the making of "Fanny and Alexander" although he subsequently directed a number of television productions, including the celebrated "Saraband" in 2003.
Bergman settled on Faro -- or "sheep" -- island off the southeast coast of Sweden after shooting seven films there. Each summer the island has hosted a celebration of his life and movies.
The Key to the Kingdom of Heaven: John 3:3
Money Doesn't Buy Happiness...But I'd Rather Cry in My Private Jet
|07-30-2007, 07:05 PM||#3|
Join Date: Jun 06, 2003
My goodness. People really do go in threes...Tom Snyder, Bill Walsh and now Ingmar Bergman. R.I.P.
|07-30-2007, 07:42 PM||#4|
Join Date: Dec 29, 2001
Location: New Jersey - the cradle of civilization
I watched a lot of his films in college.
Not much of a fan, but he certainly made an impact on the film world. Woody Allen worshiped his work.
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