SUNDAY CINEMATHEQUE AT THE CHAZEN: INGMAR BERGMAN IN BLACK AND WHITE
One of the most acclaimed filmmakers from the golden age of art-house exhibition, Sweden’s Ingmar Bergman continually surprised his devoted audience with a series of films from the late 1940s through the 1960s. With movies that frequently caused controversy with their sexual frankness, Bergman found a large following among those who responded to his artistic daring and directorial control. This selection of Bergman’s most celebrated features (peppered with a few little-known rarities) from the first three decades of his career provides evidence of his unified vision, one that was created with the indispensable black and white cinematography of colleagues like Gunnar Fischer and Sven Nykvist. All of the features in this series will be shown on 35mm prints.
- Sun., Jan. 31 | 2:00 PMChazen
In 14th century Sweden, two goat herders assault a peasant girl. Later, the assailants seek food and shelter at the home of their victim’s parents (von Sydow and Valberg) who exact a cunning revenge. Bergman won his first Oscar for this metaphysical film that, through its imagery and Sven Nykvist’s luminous cinematography, undercuts the potentially sensationalistic material (the movie later inspired Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left).
- Sun., Feb. 7 | 2:00 PMChazen
A knight (von Sydow) and his squire return from the Crusades to their plague-ravaged and spiritually lost homeland. Their aim is to fend off the black spectre of Death by challenging him to a game of chess. This the first of an intense series of Bergman films that grapple with the doubts and contradictions of religious belief and suggest that God is silent and death is implacable. Nearly sixty years after its first release, it remains a must-see in the canon of international cinema.
- Sun., Feb. 14 | 2:00 PMChazen
In this sexually frank and erotically charged drama, the earthy, teenaged Monika (Andersson) runs away with her young working class lover for a summer idyll at the beach. Then, reality sets in. For many Bergman admirers, Summer with Monika is one of the director’ first fully-realized projects, and perhaps his first masterpiece.
- Sun., Feb. 21 | 2:00 PMChazen
Berit, a suicidal young woman living in a working-class port town, unexpectedly falls for a sailor on leave. Held back by a troubled past and a domineering mother, Berit begins to hope that her new relationship might save her from self-destruction. Made by Bergman in the style of Roberto Rossellini and Italian neo-realism, Port of Call shows the director succeeding in an early, experimental phase.
- Sun., Feb. 28 | 2:00 PMChazen
On a remote island off the coast of Sweden, a young woman (Andersson) sinks into schizophrenia as her sexually confused brother, emotionally remote father, and ineffectual husband grapple with their own demons. Bergman, who won his second Oscar for this harrowing drama, displays remarkable aesthetic control along with his celebrated ability to mold stunning performances.
- Sun., Mar. 6 | 2:00 PMChazen
In one of his greatest roles for Bergman, von Sydow is Dr. Vogler, a traveling magician and snake-oil salesman who, in nineteenth-century Stockholm, is challenged by a cruel member of the royal cabinet. Gunnar Fischer’s stunning black and white camerawork is one of this underrated Bergman’s effort’s many virtues.
- Sun., Mar. 13 | 2:00 PMChazen
On a Summer’s eve at the turn-of-the-century, love runs amuck at a country estate for a group of criss-crossed lovers. The typically serious Bergman weaves a comic tale of romantic entanglement, worthy of Shakespeare. “There is an abundance of passion here, but none of it reckless; the characters consider the moral weight of their actions, and while not reluctant to misbehave, feel a need to explain, if only to themselves. Perhaps here, in an uncharacteristic comedy, Bergman is expressing the same need.” (Roger Ebert)
- Sun., Mar. 20 | 2:00 PMChazen
A cold, egotistical professor (played by legendary silent movie director Victor Sjöström, then in his late 70s) embarks on a long car journey. Over the course of the trip the aging man dozes, his succession of dreams revealing the shortcomings and losses of his youth. A staple of art-house cinema since its first release, Wild Strawberries was positively essential in building Bergman’s international reputation.
- Sun., Apr. 3 | 2:00 PMChazen
Violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg (von Sydow and Ullmann) face a bitter, unromanticized apocalypse when their island home is invaded by ground troops during a fierce civil war. Suddenly the couple must contend with the prospect of losing their morality and dignity in order to survive. “Shame is a masterpiece. Treating the most dreaded of subjects, the film makes one feel elated. The subject is our responses to death, but a work of art is a true sign of life.” –Pauline Kael
- Sun., Apr. 10 | 2:00 PMChazen
Over the course of nine tense scenes a judge interviews three actors, investigating charges of obscenity surrounding their travelling production. Eschewing elaborate sets, Bergman lets nothing get between the viewer and four bravura performances. Deliciously perverse (Bergman appears himself as a priest!), The Rite was originally produced for Swedish television.
- Sun., Apr. 24 | 2:00 PMChazen
Von Sydow plays an artist haunted by demons both real and imaginary, and Ullmann is his young wife in this surrealist-gothic psychodrama. The film, which takes place entirely on a small, isolated island, starts as an intimate two character domestic drama, then quickly and frighteningly evolves into a hallucinatory portrayal of guilt and madness. Though clearly a personal reflection on the interior life of the artist, with hidden meanings known only to the author, the film is loaded with images that remain universally recognizable as the stuff of nightmares. (BR)
- Sun., May. 1 | 2:00 PMChazen
In one of Bergman’s most celebrated masterworks, a traumatized, almost catatonic actress (Ullmann) mysteriously trades identities with her private nurse (Andersson). An inspiration to countless films from 3 Women to Mulholland Dr. to Queen of Earth, it also contains a monologue by Andersson that is considered one of the most erotic sequences in the history of motion pictures. The striking visuals of the late cinematographer Sven Nykvist are best displayed here in the original 35mm format.