In Search of Ingmar
Ingmar Bergman lived, worked and found inspiration on the windswept Swedish island of Faro. Here, for the first time, a view into his deeply personal realm.
Released on 10/23/2009
(gentle guitar music)
[Diane] I'm Diane Solway, I'm a senior editor
and writer at W Magazine.
And for our November issue I wrote about
Ingmar Bergman's private world on Fårö.
In July I visited the island with our creative director,
Dennis Freedman and the American photographer Stephen Shore.
Bergman first came to Fårö in the mid 60s
to scout locations for a film, and interestingly the minute
he saw it he thought to himself this is my landscape.
It's certainly easy to see why Bergman loved the island.
The light is great, the trees are gnarled and stooped.
The forests are very dense.
The beaches are very rocky.
There's sort of a crude, raw, barren,
elemental beauty to it.
Bergman had made many of his most
famous films on the island.
He'd written all his scripts here.
And the island really became not only his haven,
but his muse, it's almost a character in his films.
He soon built a house here in the mid 60s.
Near the beach, where he shot the film Persona.
During that film he'd also fallen in love with Liv Ullmann,
with whom he lived on this island for several years.
What was interesting about the way Bergman
lived in the house was that he followed
this very regimented schedule.
That everything happened at a particular time.
He wrote every day at a very particular time.
He had lunch always at one.
He had his rest always at the same time.
He screened films twice a day in his cinema.
They always started promptly at three
and promptly at eight.
He told a friend that you know when you're as chaotic
as I am, you need a very firm structure in your life.
Bergman had nine children by six different women.
Many of whom he remained friends
and collaborators with throughout his life.
When he turned 60, Bergman began inviting
all of his kids to visit.
By then of course most of them were adults.
The way he found it easiest to get together
with his whole brew was in his cinema.
The cinema was formerly an old barn
that Bergman had actually converted briefly into
a film studio to make his famous Scenes from a Marriage.
For someone who made such stark and austere
and often harrowing films, he actually had
a wonderful sense of humor.
He watched Ghostbusters, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction,
Jurassic Park, the director who made The Seventh Seal
was also a huge fan of The Muppets and Sex and the City.
The other thing that was really interesting
for all of us was to see how much this house
was a kind of diary for Bergman.
He wrote on the walls, he wrote on the furniture,
he wrote on his bedside table.
Most striking of all was the nightstand in his bedroom.
Bergman famously wrestled with his demons on-screen and off.
And often when his demons woke him at night he would
jot down notes on his bedside table.
On one place on the table it says, Afraid, afraid, afraid.
Another says, Such terrible dreams these nights.
And here's another one, Erotic fiasco, the conflict.
I think the intimacy of this story comes from
the fact that Stephen Shore and I in very different ways
tried to capture the imprint of Bergman's life
on the island.
And one of the things that struck us
was that his presence still lingers there so vividly.
Bergman died on the island in July of 2007.
In his will he had instructed his heirs to sell the house,
his property and personal belongings at auction.
The question is, what will become of this place
that was the wellspring for one of films greatest directors.
His estate is up for sale, and it's possible
that it will be parceled off or sold in one piece.
It could become somebody's summer home.
But one hope advanced by Bergman's youngest daughter
Linn Ullmann is that Bergman's home be preserved
as an artist colony, where artists and writers
and filmmakers and scholars could come to make new work.
Just as Bergman did.
(gentle guitar music)