What's on at Stratford London - Ingrid Bergman Retrospective
Bergman’s allegorical drama stars Max von Sydow as a knight trying to elude his own death.Vividly recreating a medieval world tormented by plague and superstition, Bergman’s allegorical drama –centred on a knight (von Sydow), returned from the Crusades, who challenges Death to a game of chess in order to postpone his demise –remains fascinating (and finally rather touching) as a study of faith in crisis. Packed with powerful images, it punctuates its bleakness with moments of pleasingly pawky humour.
Bergman’s modernist masterpiece explores the volatile relationship between an actress and her nurse. After a mischievous montage ‘explaining’ the film’s origins, the narrative proper gets underway, charting the increasingly tense battle of wits between the chatty Alma (Andersson) and the mute Elisabet (Ullmann), who are isolated together in a cottage on the island of Fårö. With a rich, resonant mix of related themes –the vampiric nature of art, the complex fragility of personality, the difficulty of communication – the film is arguably Bergman’s most audacious and formally innovative work, multi-levelled yet utterly lucid. Sven Nykvist’s lustrous camerawork, the subtle sound design and matchless lead performances combine to create a mesmerisingly beautiful work of unforgettable, haunting mystery.
Now restored in its original bilingual version, Bergman’s rarely seen chronicle of a passionate affair is a major rediscovery. A happily married mother of two, Karin (Andersson) surprises herself by responding in kind to an unforeseen profession of love from David (Gould), an archaeologist visiting Sweden whom
her doctor husband Andreas (von Sydow) has befriended. But love, however toxically exhilarating, is seldom simple, and deceit and David’s volatile temperament take their toll… Due to dubbed prints and mixed reviews, The Touch all but disappeared for decades. Now, however, the psychological precision of Bergman’s script and the subtlety and intensity of the performances can be properly appreciated, along with the evocative autumnal colours of Sven Nykvist’s burnished camerawork. Utterly compelling; a revelation.
A dying woman (Andersson) is attended to in her rural mansion by her sisters (Ullmann, Thulin) and her maid... That’s the simple premisefor one of Bergman’s most resonant studies of familial bonds, solitude, suffering and the female psyche. The remarkable saturated colour scheme transcends mere recreation of early 20th-century furnishings, décor and costumes; performed to perfection, the film is an examination of the human soul.
A sparkling new restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-nominated screen adaptation of Mozart’s much-loved opera, in which the Queen of the Night tasks our hero Tamino with rescuing her beautiful daughter from a wicked sorcerer. THE MAGIC FLUTE synthesises Bergman’s expertise as one of the finest European film directors of his generation and as an experienced and highly acclaimed stage director. Framing his film as a theatre show, and eschewing movie stars in favour of new and established stage opera performers, he interfuses top-notch vocal performances with a stunning visual experience. Long absent from British cinema screens, our advance previews of this glorious reissue promise an unmissable festive treat.