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A SUMMER WITH IGMAR BERGMAN

In the hundredth anniversary of his birth, GIFF looks back at the legacy of the Swedish filmmaker by screening four of his masterpieces.

In 2018, cinema celebrates a century since the birth of Ingmar Bergman. During the days of the 21st edition of the Guanajuato International Film Festival, it will be 11 years since his death. It’s a significant day for the history of cinema. July 30, 2007, the world said goodbye not only to the Swedish master, but also to Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, only a few hours earlier. Celebrating the legacy of Ingmar Bergman presents an opportunity to perpetuate his poetic vision and invaluable contributions to the art of the human condition, even though abbreviating 57 years of filmmaking will always be an unfair task. Born in Uppsala, Sweden in 1918, he showed an interest in the moving image from an early age. By age 9, he had already exchanged his collection of tin soldiers for a magic lantern – an object which, according to his biography, changed the course of his life. At age 26 he made his screenwriting debut. In 1955, when he was 37 years old, he directed his first box-office success, Smiles of a Summer Night. From then on, Bergman made a feature film, sometimes two, every year until his retirement in 2003 at age 85, with Saraband; he made over 60 feature films. What began as cinema that opposed the established order (Torment, 1944), about sexual liberation (Summer with Monika, 1953) and class warfare (Sawdust and Tinsel, 1953), gradually transformed into a cinema of vision (The Seventh Seal, 1957), epiphanies and introspection (Wild Strawberries, 1957), later turning toward questionsof faith (Through a Glass Darkly, 1961) to eventually perfecting a complex psychological parallelism with his masterpiece Persona (1966 His life is filled with contradictions. He oscillated, for instance, from an early sympathy with the Nazi party toward a more mature stance as a social democrat. Same thing happened with his infantile fixation toward religious iconography, which would later lead to his disappointment with the Church as depicted in some of his later work. His bordering-on-the-predatory relationships with many of the actresses who worked beside him are also not insignificant, which is something that may have to be re-examined in light of contemporary movements such as #MeToo, which seek to improve the working conditions of women in the film industry. These polarities defined his life and he was able to portray them in that examination of humanity that was always present in his work. He left behind great Works of cinema and, perhaps without meaning to, profound questions about being and the role of filmmakers in our current world. Separating life from art and highlighting his unique narrative talent, this Ingmar Bergman retrospective, made in collaboration with Cineteca Rosalío Solano in Querétaro, re-visits four of his masterpieces: The Seventh Seal, Fanny & Alexander, Wild Strawberries and Summer with Monika. This is a great opportunity to reevaluate the eye of the Scandinavian genius and Marvel at the first century of his legacy.