Among stars worthy of film documentaries, Ingrid Bergman is surely way up there with the best, as this film about her life, directed by Stig Bjõrkman and timed to Bergman’s centennial, entertainingly demonstrates. The film includes a rare look at home movies taken by the Swedish-born actress and covers a broad span of her work and relations with her family, as well as turbulent aspects of her life. Excerpts from her letters and diaries are appealingly voiced by Alicia Vikander.
There are the basic biographical elements, including Bergman being orphaned at 13 and the path to her work as an actress. Particularly interesting is what the film shows about her relationship with her children. Isabella, a well known actress in her own right, who suggested this film, contributes comments. Pia Lindstrom, who became known for a time as a news broadcaster, talks about her mother and the gaps in their mother-daughter relationship but still admires her. Also included among the family are Isabella’s twin sister, Ingrid, and Roberto, the son she had with Roberto Rossellini. We get an impression of an actress who often had to put career and personal life ahead of motherhood, but also tried hard to do right by her children.
As one would hope, the documentary includes clips from her work, and we see anew what a glorious presence she was on screen and how her acting changed under different directors.
There was of course, the cost of her falling in love with director Roberto Rossellini to her Hollywood career In retrospect the sanctimonious disapproval in the movie industry seems absurd.
Björkman’s film is packed with information and recollections by those who knew Bergman, including actress Liv Ullmann. Although the scope is broad, the emphasis is on getting to know Bergman, the person, and that has its special appeal. Posted November 2, 2015.