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Introduction to Ingmar Bergman

On July 25, this year it is going to be five years since Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish director, passed away. In honour of the director’s death anniversary, the Taj Enlighten Film Society (TEFS) has organised a film festival that will screen two of his movies at the NDFC theatre at Nehru Planetarium, Worli.

“I’ve studied Bergman’s films in great detail while I was at film school and I personally feel that his films are very enriching,” says Pranav Ashar, chairman of TEFS, explaining why they felt it was essential to pay tribute to the director. Bergman, who began his career in theatre, is known for the wide range of cinema he covered. He directed films in his lifetime and today his name is synonymous with European art cinema.


Ingmar Bergman’s name is synonymous with European art cinema

The festival, which is for adults only, will begin at 12 pm with the screening of The Seventh Seal. “This is one of Bergman’s best works. It is one of his earlier films,” explains Ashar. The 96-minute black-and-white film first released in 1957. It follows the story of a man who is playing chess against Grim Reaper and explores questions about life and death, and the existence of God.

The second movie they will be screening is the 1982 colour film, Fanny & Alexander. According to Ashar, this film has not been seen widely in India. “It’s a wonderful film. It is one of Bergman’s later works and has some of the best cinematography,” he reveals. Fanny & Alexander is vastly different from The Seventh Seal.

While the latter is more of a fantasy flick, this one is a family epic set in the early 1900s. It revolves around two Swedish children, Fanny and her brother Alexander, as they experience their family’s comedies and tragedies.

“Once you get tied up with Bergman’s pace, you will begin to enjoy his films. Sometimes I can’t decide whether I like his cinema or not. It just depends on the movie, I guess,” says Ashar frankly. “Gunnar Fischer (the cinematographer) and Bergman made a fantastic pair, which is why movies such as Smiles of a Summer Night and Summer Interlude are such a joy to watch.”

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