From the early 1960s the island of Farö in the Baltic Sea became the location of an increasing number of films made by the late Ingmar Bergman. Later, he built a house there and made it his summer headquarters, installing a stateoftheart cinema where each afternoon he and his extended family would sit down together and watch a classic movie. Though the remoteness of the location provided a natural guard against unwanted outsiders, everybody who was anybody knew about this protected domestic arena, and fierce must have been the competition to be invited there. Now that Bergman is dead the place has become even more of a shrine, so the makers of this documentary had the smart idea of inviting a selection of leading international cineastes, known to be admirers of the director, to drop in on the island, courtesy of the Swedish Film Institute, and hold a seminar there. The response turned out to be overwhelmingly positive. Many directors and actors were willing to make the pilgrimage, and the few who were indisposed seem to have been happy to have their thoughts about Bergman’s art recorded anyway. The film provides an extraordinarily rich panoply of opinion. Martin Scorsese is present (in the company of Robert De Niro) – along with Ang Lee, Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, Wes Craven, Lars von Trier (heretical opinions here, of course), Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, Michael Haneke, Claire Denis, Ridley Scott, Zhang Yimou, and several others. In general, the quality of the insights is as high as their expression is exhilarating. Individual films are singled out and extracts shown from them. No conclusions are drawn, but many sharp thoughts are minted and circulated. It is fascinating to eavesdrop on these clever and articulate artists as they pay homage to one of the world’s acknowledged film masters.
Originally from Sweden, Jane Magnusson studied at Brown University in the US. In addition to her work as a scriptwriter and director, she also writes critiques of Swedish films. Magnusson composed the script for the feature film The Swimsuit Issue (2008) and served as director for the award-winning documentary film Ebbe: The Movie (2009). In 2012, together with Hynek Pallas, she filmed the TV documentary film series Bergman’s Video, from which she developed the documentary Trespassing Bergman (2013).
Hynek Pallas was born in 1975 in the Czech Republic and has specialised in Swedish film both as a freelance journalist and film critic. He studied at and graduated from the University of Stockholm, and has penned two publications on Swedish film. In 2012, together with Jane Magnusson, he filmed the TV documentary film series Bergman’s Video.