100 years on, Ingmar Bergman is still captivating audiences

Ingmar Bergman, one of the most distinguished filmmakers of his generation whose melancholic work is often tough-to-digest but celebrated, still captivates audiences as much as he puts off his critics. July 14 would have been his 100th birthday.

Born in 1918 in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, Bergman directed some 60 movies between 1946 and 2003, including
Cries and Whispers
Autumn Sonata
(1978) and
Fanny and Alexander

He died 11 years ago aged 89 at his home in Faro, a small island in the Baltic Sea, where his disturbing film
(1966) was set.

The son of a Lutheran priest, Bergman remains to this day the most distinguished portrayer of torments, fantasies, madness and marital infidelity. “The essence of our education was based on the principles of sin, confession, punishment, redemption and forgiveness,” Bergman wrote in his autobiography
The Magic Lantern

‘Scandinavian exoticism’

Throughout his career, with his debut film
to final
, he was known for having relationships with his actresses whom he filmed masterfully. His international breakthrough began in the 1950s with global audiences seduced by “Scandinavian exoticism” with its barbaric language, frank women and bewildering “natural” representation of nudity which also triggered scandals.

Swedes prefer to watch
Fanny and Alexander
, which portrays the tragic life of a family through the eyes of two children, Bergman’s former daughter-in-law Anna Bergman said. It is shown every year at Christmas on Swedish television.

Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm has announced a programme to celebrate his 100th birthday.

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