[Börje] Ahlstedt reprises his role as great-uncle Carl from Fanny and Alexander and Best Intentions in this arresting drama. Resident in a sunny mental ward circa 1925, Carl is surrounded by premonitions of death, from the gramophone playing Schubert’s Winterreise, to his hallucinatory visions of a sinister, sexually forthright, white-clad female clown named Rigmor (as in rigor mortis). Despite his situation and his record of psychotic rage, Carl is full of grand plans, and surprisingly proceeds to mount his own version of sound cinema by having actors speak the dialogue mouthed by characters in the silent film he has made. Not everything goes to plan, but like the great last works of Schubert, it’s a striking instance of the redemptive power of art in the face of mortality, something the aging Bergman must have been feeling too. By turns bleak, bawdy, touching and wittily inventive, clearly a major Bergman piece, TV origins notwithstanding. –Trevor Johnston, Time Out
The most famed and honored filmmaker ever to emerge from the nation of Sweden – and regarded by many as one of the three or four most brilliant directors of the 20th century – Ingmar Bergman radically altered the nature and meaning of the motion-picture form, transfiguring a medium long devoted to spectacle into an art capable of profoundly personal meditations into the myriad struggles facing the psyche and the soul. By focusing on the exploration of self with unparalleled intensity, Bergman brought to the screen a new sense of emotional intimacy, fusing the concepts behind Freudian psychotherapy with a dreamlike sensibility founded on visual metaphors, flashbacks, and extreme close-ups to create a revelatory cinematic world unlike any before it.
Born Ernst Ingmar Bergman on July 14, 1918, in Uppsala, Sweden, he followed a brief 1938 military stay by attending Stockholm University. While there, he staged his first plays, among them adaptations of Macbeth, August Strindberg’s… read more