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The Inner Demons of Ingmar Bergman

MUBI Special

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls. The demons are innumerable, arrive at the most inappropriate times and create panic and terror… but I have learned that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage. Lilies often grow out of carcasses’ arseholes.” —Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1949

We are thrilled to add one of Bergman’s early films to our retro! This psychological chronicle of a decaying relationship is based on a collection of short stories by Birgit Tengroth, who plays in the film, and who assisted Bergman in portraying the lesbian episode, part of which was cut by censors.


Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1966

Incontestable jewel in the crown, Persona is an endlessly fascinating labyrinth of desires, repressions and compulsions. Bergman experiments with the subconscious to reach sublime and transcendent levels of narrative freedom. A film so visionary that it’s indispensable to understand modern cinema.

After the Rehearsal

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1984

A late career triumph from Ingmar Bergman, this deceptively austere chamber piece poignantly merges the Swedish auteur’s two passions—film and theatre—making for a staggering cinematic confession.

Fanny and Alexander (Theatrical Version)

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1982

An intimate epic of majestic richness, Fanny and Alexander is dreamy and nightmarish in equal parts, and sees Bergman at his most exhilarating. Alexander’s gaze has to be one of the most unforgettable in cinema, and this family saga one of the greatest visions of childhood ever put on celluloid.

From the Life of the Marionettes

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1980

Ingmar Bergman’s strange, surprising spin-off of Scenes from a Marriage gives center stage to that film’s characters of Katarina and Peter, revealing the secrets of this relationship in a filmmaking style more outwardly dramatic and drastic in its violence. An overlooked psychological thriller.

Autumn Sonata

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1978

Few directors could peel away the layers of human relationships more devastatingly than the great Ingmar Bergman. With this implosive, uncertain chamber drama, he gave Sweden’s other great Bergman—Ingrid—her final big screen role, and she gave him one of her finest performances.

Scenes from a Marriage (Theatrical Version)

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1974

It’s an immense pleasure for us to present the theatrical version of Ingmar Bergman’s epic TV series. One of the major voices of modern cinema, the Swedish director is an implacable auteur whose ability to dissect human nature, and in this case marriage, is rather superlative.

Cries and Whispers

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1972

Cries and Whispers sees Bergman embracing his powerful and sophisticated use of color—the perplexing intensity of the reds and the whites in this film remains unparalleled. Beware: this feverish, sumptuous exploration of human monstrosity is perhaps not a horror film, but a film about horror.

The Rite

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1969

Reminiscent of Hour of the Wolf and The Magician, this gem from Bergman’s overlooked mid/late 1960s work is a bold debate on censorship, and perhaps the filmmaker’s most frank treatment of his usual themes of theatricality and performance. Featuring a cameo from Bergman himself—playing a priest!

Winter Light

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1963

Perhaps one of Ingmar Bergman’s most startling, and indeed, most thought-provoking of films, Winter Light is a stark chamber drama that masterfully examines one man’s search for meaning. A riveting and resolute character study, depicting a man of faith caught in an existential crisis.

The Silence

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1963

Concluding the ‘Faith’ trilogy, this austere drama continues a thematic exploration that began with Through a Glass Darkly, developing Bergman’s metaphysical material even further. A tense triangle of characters, juxtaposing two psychologically spiraling sisters, and a shared, suffocating silence.

Through a Glass Darkly

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1961

We enter Bergman’s 60s period with his first film shot in Fårö, the remote island where he lived until his death. An Academy Award winner, this masterful study on madness—with an astounding Harriet Andersson—inaugurates a major theme in the auteur’s work: human frailty in front of God’s silence.

The Devil's Eye

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1960

Between The Virgin Spring and Through a Glass Darkly exists this overshadowed, underappreciated curio—one of Ingmar Bergman most purely enjoyable features. Bibi Andersson is on hand for this especially theatrical, especially allegorical morality play, a Scandinavian riff on Don Juan.

The Virgin Spring

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1960

Ingmar Bergman won his first Academy Award for this, one of his more brutal films: a violent, vicious and existential revenge drama.The Virgin Spring is, as well, Bergman’s first film with the man who would become one of his longest collaborators, the renowned cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

The Magician

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1958

Some six centuries after The Seventh Seal, Max von Sydow is back with Bergman in one of the latter’s most underrated films. Questioning truth and illusion, The Magician announces some of the themes that would dominate Bergman’s ‘Faith’ trilogy, beginning years later with Through a Glass Darkly.

The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1957

One of the must-sees of cinema—a film likely not watched as often as it has been referenced in film history! This high-concept tale of a man confronting existential despair is a riveting philosophical journey through the nooks and crannies of faith, death & chess.

Wild Strawberries

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1957

The universe of dreams is often portrayed in films, but nightmares have rarely looked so distinctively unsettling. The opening of Wild Strawberries sets the rules of this game: what ensues is a haunting depiction of a man’s battle against the ghosts of time. A psychological road movie, à la Bergman!

Smiles of a Summer Night

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1955

Contesting with their fidelity and morality, the richly-drawn and endlessly witty central quartet of characters in Bergman’s dual marriage plots may be those of a tragicomedy, instead of a simple farce. An amour fou, with two of the filmmaker’s biggest stars: Harriet and Bibi Andersson.

Summer with Monika

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1953

A sensual tale of rebellious love with a strikingly rich treatment of its central female character, Summer with Monika is the breakout film from the endlessly influential auteur, who would go on to embody European modernist cinema and regularly collaborate with the film’s star, Harriet Andersson.

Summer Interlude

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1951

Bergman’s personal and professional breakthrough, this moving look at adolescence and memories of a lost love begins the filmmaker’s interest in idyllic summertime settings, a motif revisited in Smiles of a Summer Night and Summer with Monika. A defining film in the director’s early career.

A Lesson in Love

Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1954

A comedy… from Bergman? Before the similarly sweet Smiles of a Summer Night, the Swedish director made this mature look at long-term relationships and fidelity. With some pathos, too — a byproduct of Bergman’s intelligent psychological insight and always impressive, detailed characterisation.


Alf Sjöberg Sweden, 1944

Alf Sjöberg’s tense school drama doubles as a critique of institutions and Nazi allegory. More significant may be its 24-year-old screenwriter & assistant director, Ingmar Bergman, who considers this his debut: his “first professionally filmed images.” Winner of the Palme d’Or, in an eleven-way tie!


Ingmar Bergman Sweden, 1946

A fascinating glimpse at both the already-apparent influence of playwright Henrik Ibsen, and what was to come later in Bergman’s incredible career. Crisis is akin to a chamber play: pared back to just a few elements, but full of intense emotion and psychological introspection.

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