"When I first came [to Hollywood], with The Emigrants, everyone was shocked to see me a happy, smiling 31-year-old, because they all saw me as this heavy, ‘Bergman person.’ (laughs) So I had my pick of projects, and basically I just made a lot of bad choices that I had fun doing. Then I went back home and did Scenes from a Marriage. I also did a lot of traveling, a lot of theater, wrote two books and raised a daughter, so I never felt like I ‘bombed out.’ It was just another learning step. If I had been really famous in Hollywood, my life would have ended a long time ago… I would probably be very sad and face-lifted, and all that. I probably wouldn’t have been a director. Instead, I’ve had this very rich life.”

Liv Ullmann
Born December 16, 1938

Liv UllmannIcons

"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

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



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.








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.

"When I decide to portray a part, I can never completely hide who I am, what I am. At the point of identification, the audience encounters a person, not a role, not an actress. A face to face. It’s what I know about women. It’s what I have experienced, what I’ve seen. That’s what I want to share with you."

Liv Ullmann
Born December 16, 1938

Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman on the set of Hour of the Wolf.

"Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness. At the editing table, when I run the strip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood: in the darkness of the wardrobe, I slowly wind on one frame after another, see the almost imperceptible changes, wind faster — a movement."

Ingmar Bergman (July 14, 1918 -– July 30, 2007)

On the set of Persona.

On the set of Persona.