"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


"I first met Bergman when I was playing a small part in Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata (1941) at the Civic Theater. We started to tell each other stories, laughing together, and I studied his teeth and noticed the front ones were very long, and I said to myself, these are like Dracula’s, don’t forget it, never forget it! But I did. And I must say that after that, we were very good friends, ever since then, sometimes a little irritated, as the job required total concentration, and we didn’t always have the time to do what we needed to do. One day it would rain, and the next, well, so it went.” — Gunnar Björnstrand, 1979

"I first met Bergman when I was playing a small part in Strindberg’s The Ghost Sonata (1941) at the Civic Theater. We started to tell each other stories, laughing together, and I studied his teeth and noticed the front ones were very long, and I said to myself, these are like Dracula’s, don’t forget it, never forget it! But I did. And I must say that after that, we were very good friends, ever since then, sometimes a little irritated, as the job required total concentration, and we didn’t always have the time to do what we needed to do. One day it would rain, and the next, well, so it went.” — Gunnar Björnstrand, 1979


"When I first met Bergman I was 16 or 17, and he was five years older. We were boys who wanted to make theatre, and we put on The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I remember it very well. Everything was there already. He was much more hysterical then—shouting, screaming, threatening, sometimes mean, which he still can sometimes be. But the fantasy, the imagination, the fantastic talent for getting close to a text—all of that was already there. In his first films you can see that he is not experienced, but in theatre he was already perfect.”
"I was mainly a stage actor. I found film acting mechanical, because it was so technical—there was so much technique with the lamps and the movements of the camera. But suddenly one day, when we made Cries and Whispers—the cinematographer was Sven Nykvist, as usual—I can remember the moment when I suddenly felt that the camera was a living partner. I suddenly felt this is art, and the camera is a cooperative living person. After that I was extremely happy to act in films! “
Erland JosephsonJune 15, 1923 — February 25, 2012

"When I first met Bergman I was 16 or 17, and he was five years older. We were boys who wanted to make theatre, and we put on The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I remember it very well. Everything was there already. He was much more hysterical then—shouting, screaming, threatening, sometimes mean, which he still can sometimes be. But the fantasy, the imagination, the fantastic talent for getting close to a text—all of that was already there. In his first films you can see that he is not experienced, but in theatre he was already perfect.”

"I was mainly a stage actor. I found film acting mechanical, because it was so technical—there was so much technique with the lamps and the movements of the camera. But suddenly one day, when we made Cries and Whispers—the cinematographer was Sven Nykvist, as usual—I can remember the moment when I suddenly felt that the camera was a living partner. I suddenly felt this is art, and the camera is a cooperative living person. After that I was extremely happy to act in films! “

Erland Josephson
June 15, 1923 — February 25, 2012

I wrote [Scenes from a Marriage] just for fun and didn’t know what to do with it. It was like Winnie the Pooh. You know, Christopher Robin was ill and, every evening before sleep, A. A. Milne told him one of those little stories. Then he wrote them down and suddenly the whole world bought Winnie the Pooh. It was the same with Scenes from a Marriage. I wrote it for fun, for myself. I started with the third scene, then I wrote the fourth, then the second. The whole thing took me about four weeks. Remember, it’s called Scenes from a Marriage, not the Marriage. To me, it was very private. Then suddenly it wasn’t private any more, suddenly it became a shared experience for a great number of people. In Denmark, for instance, the divorce statistics went up. That’s got to be good!

A Visit with Ingmar Bergman, New York Times Magazine | 1975

[…] I wanted to make it for television, a more beautiful everyday product, since we had practically no budget. We planned to create six episodes, each to be rehearsed for five days and then filmed during the subsequent five days. About fifty minutes of film would be made in ten days, which meant that the six episodes would be finished in a little more than two months. When we actually shot the film, it went much faster than that. Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann enjoyed their parts as Johan and Marianne and learned them quickly. Suddenly we had a film that had cost practically nothing, which was great since we were broke. (Cries and Whispers had not yet been sold.)

All in all, Scenes from a Marriage was a pure joy to make because we approached it as a television production and made it without feeling the paralyzing pressure of making a feature film.

Images: My Life in Film | Ingmar Bergman

Cries and Whispers // dir. Ingmar Bergman


"Bergman is everything. He’s so much. He left his mark in the minds of so many Swedish actors. And he dealt with so many human problems and relationships. He has, of course, been very disturbing for many people, but he has inspired so many more. And if I hadn’t had my time with Bergman, I certainly would not be here today. I have so much to thank him for. He was an inspiration for us, a great teacher. And he was at the same time a very charming person and funny to work with—oh, yes—with a great sense of humor." — Max von Sydow

"Bergman is everything. He’s so much. He left his mark in the minds of so many Swedish actors. And he dealt with so many human problems and relationships. He has, of course, been very disturbing for many people, but he has inspired so many more. And if I hadn’t had my time with Bergman, I certainly would not be here today. I have so much to thank him for. He was an inspiration for us, a great teacher. And he was at the same time a very charming person and funny to work with—oh, yes—with a great sense of humor." — Max von Sydow



Were you surprised to to see the ending of the film?Liv Ullmann: Of Persona? Yes, very much. Very much of that picture happened at the cutting table. This scene was not in the script. Also the scene where the two faces come together, we did not know about that either. [Bergman] took us once to the cutting room. We hadn’t heard about this. He said, “I want you to watch something.” We saw this strange face. I thought, “Oh, God. Bibi is fantastic. She looks completely neurotic.” At the same time, Bibi thought, “How did Liv do it?” Suddenly we saw that if was half of each. It was really frightening. That was also an idea that he had thought of during the shooting.

Were you surprised to to see the ending of the film?
Liv Ullmann: Of Persona? Yes, very much. Very much of that picture happened at the cutting table. This scene was not in the script. Also the scene where the two faces come together, we did not know about that either. [Bergman] took us once to the cutting room. We hadn’t heard about this. He said, “I want you to watch something.” We saw this strange face. I thought, “Oh, God. Bibi is fantastic. She looks completely neurotic.” At the same time, Bibi thought, “How did Liv do it?” Suddenly we saw that if was half of each. It was really frightening. That was also an idea that he had thought of during the shooting.

February 11, 1963 — Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light premieres in Sweden.

"Well, it was a difficult film, one of the hardest I’ve made so far. The audience has to work. It’s a progression from Through a Glass Darkly, and it in turn is carried forward to The Silence. The three stand together. My basic concern in making them was to dramatize the all-importance of communication, of the capacity for feeling. They are not concerned—as many critics have theorized—with God or His absence, but with the saving force of love. Most of the people in these three films are dead, completely dead. They don’t know how to love or to feel any emotions. They are lost because they can’t reach anyone outside of themselves.

"The man in Winter Light, the pastor, is nothing. He’s nearly dead, you understand. He’s almost completely cut off from everyone. The central character is the woman. She doesn’t believe in God, but she has strength; it’s the women who are strong. She can love. She can save with her love. Her problem is that she doesn’t know how to express this love. She’s ugly, clumsy. She smothers him, and he hates her for it and for her ugliness. But she finally learns how to love. Only at the end, when they’re in the empty church for the three o’clock service that has become perfectly meaningless for him, her prayer in a sense is answered: he responds to her love by going on with the service in that empty country church. It’s his own first step toward feeling, toward learning how to love. We’re not saved by God, but by love. That’s the most we can hope for.” — Ingmar Bergman, 1964

"I think I have made just one picture that I really like, and that is Winter Light. That is my only picture about which I feel that I have started here and ended there and that everything along the way has obeyed me. Everything is exactly as I wanted to have it, in every second of this picture. I couldn’t make this picture today; it’s impossible; but I saw it a few weeks ago together with a friend and I was very satisfied.” — Ingmar Bergman, 1972


"I was quite tired of the entertainment Arne Mattsson made me perform, where I had to run blonde and beautiful through a meadow hand in hand with a young man. Bergman made me so ugly as soon as he clapped eyes on me, so I didn’t need to feel that I was putting on a show. Those difficult, psychological roles suited me better."
Ingrid ThulinJanuary 27, 1926 — January 7, 2004

"I was quite tired of the entertainment Arne Mattsson made me perform, where I had to run blonde and beautiful through a meadow hand in hand with a young man. Bergman made me so ugly as soon as he clapped eyes on me, so I didn’t need to feel that I was putting on a show. Those difficult, psychological roles suited me better."

Ingrid Thulin
January 27, 1926 — January 7, 2004








Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann photographed by Gunnar Källström near their home in Fårö on July 14, 1968, Ingmar’s 50th birthday.

Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann photographed by Gunnar Källström near their home in Fårö on July 14, 1968, Ingmar’s 50th birthday.