mon 19/03/2018

DVD: Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words

DVD: Ingrid Bergman - In Her Own Words

Intimate portrait of a Hollywood diva fills in the darkest shadows

Ingrid Bergman in her own words: 'Papa filmed me. Now I film the world'

Ever nursed an immoderate fondness for Ingrid Bergman? This bio-documentary is the home entertainment of your dreams, an entrancing, melancholy memoir in letters, diaries and above all personal footage. Director Stig Björkman has earned the trust of Bergman's four children, who submit candid recollections. These are woven into the larger odyssey of an orphan who sought a refuge in make-believe and ended up the biggest and later, thanks to her elopement with Roberto Rossellini, the most scandalous film star in the world ("Out of Ingrid Bergman’s ashes will grow a better Hollywood," wrote one pitiless commentator).

Bergman was a home movie obsessive, having inherited the hobby from her father. "Papa filmed me. Now I film the world," she wrote. It prepared her for the relentless gaze of the lens, even when aimed at her by paparazzi. However often she pointed her camera at her surroundings, it's posterity's good fortune that there's plenty of footage with her in front of it too – on her hols in Nazi Germany, arriving starry-eyed in Hollywood, larking about in the many places she would call home.

The picture that emerges is of an emotional nomad with a fragile gift for joy, embodied in a smile that could bring down the walls of Jericho. Its astonishing power is glimpsed here in her first ever Hollywood screen test. But alongside are the shadows, resonantly captured in Alicia Vikander's Swedish reading of correspondence that comes across as Bergman performing open-heart surgery on herself. A yearning soundtrack from Michael Nyman and Eva Dahlgren adds to the atmosphere of nostalgic tristesse.

Thanks to Bergman's itinerant career the film is also a world history of cinema, from Casablanca via Hitchcock and Rossellini to her namesake Ingmar. There is no attempt to explain why she left her (apparently undamaged) children wanting so much more of her beyond her passion for work and for men who weren't their fathers. It's not quite suggested that the death of her mother when she was two and her father when she was 15 habituated her to the idea that children can get by without parents. Their loss is cinema's gain, of which this beautiful homage is the last in the line. The extras on this release contain further bounties.

Overleaf: watch the trailer to Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words


A picture emerges of a emotional nomad with a fragile gift for joy, embodied in a smile that could bring down the walls of Jericho


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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