Haunting. Poetic. Indelible. The films of Ingmar Bergman in the 1950s and 1960s would come to define European art cinema and elevate the Swedish director to a position of prominence, where he would eventually be recognized as one of the world's most important filmmakers. In his more than forty years in the cinema, Bergman, as writer-director, produced dozens of films that explored the fundamental facets of human existence: the quest for love and faith, the meaning of suffering and pain, the mystery of death, the solitary nature of being, the hell and paradise of marriage, and the struggle to find meaning in a seemingly random and capricious universe. For many, Bergman was the first to bring metaphysics—meditations on religion, death, and existentialism—to the screen; but equally important was his ability to explore the psychology of women, and to examine the relationships between the sexes.
His films, with few exceptions, are chamber pieces that enclose space and time, permitting Bergman to focus on mise-en-scene and pay careful attention to metaphoric detail and visual rhythm. Within this approach, his most expressive technique is his use of the facial close-up. For Bergman, the face (especially a woman's), along with the hands, are keys to revealing the innermost aspects of human emotion.
This year marks the centenary of Bergman's birth, so join us as we explore the cinema of a director once described as a “poet with the camera.” We will consider a variety of films, moving from such early notable works as Summer Interlude (1951) and Summer with Monika (1953), to the darker, more meditative films of his 1960s “Faith Trilogy,” such as Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and Winter Light (1963).