Bergman’s late-era television film is based on the real-life story of the director’s Uncle Carl, a middle-aged inventor committed to a mental institution in Uppsala in 1925 after he attempted to kill his much younger fiancée.
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(5) Coming very late in Bergman’s career the TV movie In the Presence of a Clown is set in a world of people making film and theatre, the twin artistic centres of his life. Actors, musicians, and performers who were so often the protagonists of his own films are in the spotlight here too. Their triumphs and humiliations, struggles with mental illness, and Death is waiting in the wings in the form of Rigmor the clown.