"The fact is, there’s an enigmatic relationship between Max and myself. He has meant a tremendous amount to me. Stravinsky once said something good. I heard Blomdahl and him discussing Alban Berg’s Lulu. They were discussing a singer. Stravinsky said she was a bad Lulu, because she was so vulgar. But then Blomdahl, as I remember it, said: ‘But Lulu’s the vulgarest female alive.’ And Stravinsky said: ‘Yes, and that’s why she must be played by an actress who hasn’t a trace of vulgarity in her—but can play it.’ I suppose that’s exactly what I find in Max von Sydow. As an actor, Max is sound through and through. Robust. Technically durable. If I’d had a psychopath to present these deeply psychopathic roles, it would have been unbearable. It’s a question of acting the part of a broken man, not of being him. The sort of exhibitionism in this respect which is all the rage just now will pass over, I think. By and by people will regain their feeling for the subtle detachment which often exists between Max and my madmen.”
— Ingmar Bergman | 1968
"Mr. Bergman was a man of great working discipline. He forced everyone to concentrate when it was important. No disturbing noise during rehearsal. A code of silence. But in between, when [the camera and lighting] was being changed and re-rigged, there were a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. He had a great sense of humor. He had a talent of making people feel that they were participating in something important and something aspiring. He created teamwork. Mr. Bergman had a great imagination and saw the possibilities within every one of his actors, and he gave us great challenges. It was very inspiring. Whatever good I have done on screen I owe to him. I have learned discipline. I have learned concentration and the joy of acting."
— Max von Sydow | 2013

"The fact is, there’s an enigmatic relationship between Max and myself. He has meant a tremendous amount to me. Stravinsky once said something good. I heard Blomdahl and him discussing Alban Berg’s Lulu. They were discussing a singer. Stravinsky said she was a bad Lulu, because she was so vulgar. But then Blomdahl, as I remember it, said: ‘But Lulu’s the vulgarest female alive.’ And Stravinsky said: ‘Yes, and that’s why she must be played by an actress who hasn’t a trace of vulgarity in her—but can play it.’ I suppose that’s exactly what I find in Max von Sydow. As an actor, Max is sound through and through. Robust. Technically durable. If I’d had a psychopath to present these deeply psychopathic roles, it would have been unbearable. It’s a question of acting the part of a broken man, not of being him. The sort of exhibitionism in this respect which is all the rage just now will pass over, I think. By and by people will regain their feeling for the subtle detachment which often exists between Max and my madmen.”

Ingmar Bergman | 1968

"Mr. Bergman was a man of great working discipline. He forced everyone to concentrate when it was important. No disturbing noise during rehearsal. A code of silence. But in between, when [the camera and lighting] was being changed and re-rigged, there were a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. He had a great sense of humor. He had a talent of making people feel that they were participating in something important and something aspiring. He created teamwork. Mr. Bergman had a great imagination and saw the possibilities within every one of his actors, and he gave us great challenges. It was very inspiring. Whatever good I have done on screen I owe to him. I have learned discipline. I have learned concentration and the joy of acting."

Max von Sydow | 2013

Ingmar Bergman: No other art-medium—neither painting nor poetry—can communicate the specific quality of the dream as well as the film can. When the lights go down in the cinema and this white shining point opens up for us, our gaze stops flitting hither and thither, settles and becomes quite steady. We just sit there, letting the images flow out over us. Our will ceases to function. We lose our ability to sort things out and fix them in their proper places. We’re drawn into a course of events—we’re participants in a dream… Sometimes while I’m dreaming I think: “I’ll remember this, I’ll make a film of it”—it’s a sort of occupational disease.

Luis Buñuel: If someone were to tell me I had twenty years left, and ask me how I’d like to spend them, I’d reply: “Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams… provided I can remember them.”


"I am hopelessly in love with this man. Completely. Because, I don’t know why, I have met him a few times and… I love his work and I love him as a person, if he is a person, which I doubt, because he has no limits; he’s just like quicksilver—all over the place. I have never seen anybody like that before. He is enormously intuitive. He is intuitive; he is creative; he is an enormous force. He is burning inside with such heat. Collapsing. Do you understand what I mean? The heat from his creative mind, it melts him. He suffers from it; he suffers physically from it. One day when he can manage this heat and can set it free, I think he will make pictures you have never seen in your life." — Ingmar Bergman
"He had individual style. There are things you cannot take a course in. You are born with it. He was a first-class clown, with a unique, great concept. In life, when you were with Fellini, you always knew you weren’t with anyone else. He was in his own orbit. When someone like Fellini dies, there is no way to pass on a formula, because there is no formula. What he did came out of the person, out of him. People will study and analyze and copy, and maybe someone will achieve to the point it is said of him, ‘His film is like Fellini.’ But it can only be like Fellini. When you can’t pass it on, it’s the real stuff.” — Billy Wilder

"I am hopelessly in love with this man. Completely. Because, I don’t know why, I have met him a few times and… I love his work and I love him as a person, if he is a person, which I doubt, because he has no limits; he’s just like quicksilver—all over the place. I have never seen anybody like that before. He is enormously intuitive. He is intuitive; he is creative; he is an enormous force. He is burning inside with such heat. Collapsing. Do you understand what I mean? The heat from his creative mind, it melts him. He suffers from it; he suffers physically from it. One day when he can manage this heat and can set it free, I think he will make pictures you have never seen in your life." — Ingmar Bergman

"He had individual style. There are things you cannot take a course in. You are born with it. He was a first-class clown, with a unique, great concept. In life, when you were with Fellini, you always knew you weren’t with anyone else. He was in his own orbit. When someone like Fellini dies, there is no way to pass on a formula, because there is no formula. What he did came out of the person, out of him. People will study and analyze and copy, and maybe someone will achieve to the point it is said of him, ‘His film is like Fellini.’ But it can only be like Fellini. When you can’t pass it on, it’s the real stuff.” — Billy Wilder

"I once had a dream, or a vision, and I imagined that dream to be of importance to other people, so I wrote the manuscript and made the film. But it is not until the moment when my dream meets with your emotions and your minds that my shadows come to life. It is your recognition that brings them to life. It is your indifference that kills them. I hope that you will understand; that you when you leave the cinema will take with you an experience or a sudden thought—or maybe a question. The efforts of my friends and myself have then not been in vain…" — Ingmar Bergman

When filmmakers meet…

"To me, I have to say this from the beginning, the close-up, the correctly illuminated, directed and acted close-up of an actor is and remains the height of cinematography. There is nothing better. That incredibly strange and mysterious contact you can suddenly experience with another soul through an actor’s gaze. A sudden thought, blood that drains away or blood that pumps into the face, the trembling nostrils, the suddenly shiny complexion or mute silence, that is to me some of the most incredible and fascinating moments you will ever experience." (1964)

"I would like once in my life to make a 120-minute picture with just one close-up. I think it’s impossible, but I would love to do it once. To have the right actor and to have the talent to accomplish this. It would be the most fascinating experience of all, just to look with the camera. I am a voyeur. To look at somebody, to find out how the skin changes, the eyes, how all those muscles change the whole time—the lips—to me it’s always a drama." (1980)

Ingmar Bergman

"…Tarkovsky gave me one of the best and most unforgettable experiences in my life and in cinema. Late in the day, in 1971, I was watching a film with Kjell Grede (a Swedish filmmaker) in a screening room from SF. Afterwards we took a look at the screening booth where a number of film cases were lying. ‘What’s that?’ I asked the projectionist. ‘Some fucking Russian film.’ And then I saw Tarkovsky’s name and told Grede: ‘Listen, I read something about this picture. We have to watch it and see what it’s all about.’ We then bribed the projectionist so that he would show it to us … And it was Andrei Rublev. And so, at about 2:30 a.m., we both came out of the screening room with gaunt eyes, wobbly, completely moved, enthusiastic, and shaken. I will never forget it. What was remarkable is that there were no Swedish subtitles! We didn’t understand one word of dialogue, but we were nonetheless overwhelmed. Tarkovsky made another film that I like a lot, The Mirror.” — Ingmar Bergman, 2002

Filmmakers as children: Luis Buñuel, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jacques Tati, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Stanley Kubrick.

Akira Kurosawa: There’s something to be said for black and white, and I harbor the hope of returning to it some day. A black and white film has a special quality. It’s difficult to describe, but that quality is still very much alive for me today. — 1991

Andrei Tarkovsky: I love black and white cinema; I feel as if I discovered it. Audiences are supposed to prefer color films, but I believe that color is much less realistic than black and white. We don’t normally notice color, except in the cinema where it’s somehow exaggerated. So the most ‘real’ images on film are in monochrome… For me, black and white has an unforgettable and highly expressive quality, and I will continue to make films that include a lot of black and white. — 1981

David Lynch: Black and white does have the ability to take you into a world that’s different, be it in the past as in The Elephant Man or in a parallel world as in Eraserhead. Sometimes with color it’s just too real and can’t take you there so easily and it makes things more pure. You can see eyes and ears in a totally different way, so you really see them. You see shadows and contrasts and shapes because those are the things you end up working with. You don’t see such a real picture which you glance over without a second thought. In black and white you really start to see things. It seems to make things in a way more powerful—it’s removing you from reality. — 1985

Béla Tarr: I love black and white. When you see a black-and-white picture, you know immediately it is not a realistic picture. It is not reality ‘one to one,’ because something is somehow transformed. On the other hand, I can hide a lot of things in the blackness, and I can picture white light for something which is important. I can use the whole gray scale. — 2012

Ingmar Bergman: In black and white, you have that wonderful chance to create, and have the audience to create together with you… I would like most of all if it would be possible to work in black and white, because I think black and white is the most beautiful color that exists for our minds, for our creative minds. We are involved in the creative process when we are looking at a black and white picture. — 1981

"I never considered myself anything more than as a craftsman, a hell of a skilled craftsman, if I may so myself, but nothing more. I create things that are meant to be useful, films or theatrical productions. I’ve never felt the need for … what’s the word? … sub specie aeternitatis. I have never created for the sake of eternity. I was only interested in producing the good work of a fine craftsman. Yes, I am proud to call myself a craftsman who makes chairs and tables that are useful to people.”

Ingmar Bergman
July 14, 1918 — July 30, 2007