|A Tribute to Ingmar Bergman|
|Part 1: The Life and Films of Ingmar Bergman-Including "Smiles of a Summer Night"|
In his native Sweden, Bergman is revered as a director of stage plays and for his work in television. But internationally, Bergman's reputation rests primarily on his filmmaking.
Ingmar Bergman was raised in Stockholm, where his father Erik was the pastor at a major Lutheran church. Bergman's mother Karin spent most of her time supporting church activities, but she once had a passionate extramarital affair with another minister. As an adult, Bergman's feelings toward his parents seemed to be ambivalent, but it's interesting that several of his films have a character named Karin.
Bergman has been married five times, but none of his wives were actresses. His first two wives were dancers, his third wife a journalist, his fourth a concert pianist, and his fifth a countess. Bergman had one or more children by each of his first four wives-a total of seven children in all. His 24-year marriage to his fifth wife, Ingrid Karlebo, produced no children, and Ingrid's death in 1995 left Bergman a widower.
Bergman had extended romantic relationships with three actresses: Harriet Andersson (1952-53), Bibi Andersson (1955-58), and Liv Ullmann (1965-70). In addition to the children Bergman had by his ex-wives, he had a daughter by Liv Ullmann. Each of the three actresses worked with Bergman after her romantic relationship with him had ended.
Bergman has lived and worked in Sweden all his life, except for a period of about three years in the late 1970s when he moved his primary residence to Munich. In 1976 Bergman was charged by the Swedish government with income tax evasion, and eventually the case was settled with Bergman paying only a fraction of what the government initially claimed he owed. While his case was working its way through the system, Bergman elected to live abroad most of the time, choosing Munich because he could direct plays there. It was during his self-imposed exile that Ingmar Bergman went to Norway and made "Autumn Sonata," which stars Ingrid Bergman (no relation) of "Casablanca" fame.
Ingmar Bergman wrote and directed at least 20 films worth seeing, and here's a list of some of my favorites:
"Smiles of a Summer Night" (1955)
When this elegant comedy won a prize for Best Poetic Humor at Cannes, Bergman began to receive a measure of international recognition. Set around 1900, the film features three mismatched couples: a middle-aged attorney and his teenage wife, an actress and a count, and a young theology student and a flirtatious maid. When these six people are thrown together with others at a country estate, the romantic relationships get sorted out.
Bergman regulars appearing in "Smiles of a Summer Night" include Gunnar Bjornstrand, Harriet Andersson, and Bibi Andersson.