While Ingrid Bergman is undoubtedly one of the most iconic faces in film history, her personal life may be an enigma to the average movie goer. In the NYFF53 documentary, INGRID BERGMAN IN HER OWN WORDS, filmmaker Stig Björkman brings her world to life with diary entries, intimate sit down interviews with her children, letters to close confidants, and home movies shot by Bergman herself.
Bergman kept a diary starting at a very early age, chronicling her thoughts and dreams. Oftentimes, revealing her innermost fears and personal downfalls, what is perhaps the most surprising is just how beautiful her words are on each page. The way she writes is almost poetic, incredibly articulate and profound. Bergman admits she was no saint when it came to the men in her life but was never ashamed of her love affairs outside of marriages. The love for her children was always evident. Interestingly enough, once her first affair became public knowledge, it was the US that was most personally offended. Early versions of the main stream media we have come to love and hate today, labeled her a woman to be boycotted. This was the catalyst for Bergman’s departure from the US, moving from country to country, transforming in her personal and professional life as the years rolled by. Even in the ever changing landscape, Ingrid’s talent and joy for life never waned.
What I found to be most interesting about this film is just how charming Bergman was. If you take a step back from her actions as a parent and wife, your initial reaction may be to judge her, yet somehow all is forgiven. There is definitely something to be explored in her relationship with both her father and the camera itself. It is the precursor to almost every life choice she made. Stig Björkman does an amazing job stitching together memories and exploring the effect she had on all who came in contact with her. INGRID BERGMAN IN HER OWN WORDS in a must see.
- Directed By Stig Björkman
- Swedish and English with English subtitles
- 114 minutes
This is a lovingly crafted film about one of the cinema’s most luminous and enchanting presences, composed from her letters and diaries (extracts of which are read by Alicia Vikander), the memories of her children (Pia Lindström and Isabella, Ingrid, and Roberto Rossellini), and a few close friends and colleagues (including Liv Ullmann and Sigourney Weaver), photographs, and moments from thousands of feet of Super-8 and 16mm footage shot by Bergman herself throughout the years. Stig Björkman’s focus is not on Bergman the star but on Bergman the woman and mother: orphaned at 13, drawn to acting on the stage and then on film, sailing for Hollywood at 24 and then leaving it all behind for a new and different life with Roberto Rossellini. Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words is, finally, a self-portrait of a truly independent woman. A Rialto Pictures release.