I can't remember what I was doing that back in July 2007 when both Ingmar Bergman and Anonioni died on the same day or even how I heard the news; perhaps a newspaper headline or through my Mum. I only remember thinking of what Billy Wilder said when Fellini died, that now there would be no more Fellini films. I especially felt their passing because The Seventh Seal and L'Avventura were two of the first films I saw when I began to really take an interest in cinema. Often I keep my admiration for Bergman to myself because of the fear that people will think I'm serious and miserable, unable to simply enjoy anything mainstream which isn't true. At university, I'd always ask Swedish students if they liked him and be disappointed when my question was met with rolled eyes and a groan. Last Friday after watching Wim Wenders' Pina (you can find my post on it here), I decided to finally see the exhibition on Bergman at the Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Museum for Film and TV) which was a stone's throw away from the cinema.
The rooms were fairly empty on a Friday afternoon but secretly I felt glad. Going in you come across costumes from various films directed and written by him - Smiles of a Summer Night, the Seventh Seal, the Best Intentions and a monitor with headphones where you can see various interviews. Under the watchful eye of the museum attendant, I felt a little self-conscious at first, standing there listening to Swedish while music from the title credits of Fanny and Alexander played overhead. Throughout the exhibition there are large screens where you can sit and watch clips - the intense blue eyes of Liv Ullman are she describes being tormented by her mother and husband in Scenes from a Marriage, Viktor Sjöstrom examining his wife as part of his medical examination in Wild Strawberries, Ingrid Bergman discussing her earliest childhood memory while rehearsing Autumn Sonata, Harriet Andersson undressing in Summer with Monika. I rediscovered the ebb and flow of the water, the ticking of the clocks, the brutality of the midday sun, the red rooms that are the leitmotivs of his oeuvre which is sometimes repulsive, sometimes beautiful . My favourite room was perhaps the one made up entirely of large screens on each wall, each showing different scenes. There were also surprises; an advert for soap made while he was young with actors dressed up in aristocratic costumes and explaining how the people in the 18th century couldn't have smelled good; letters from Woody Allen and Billy Wilder; a photo of Bergman with Ang Lee.. Most of all the exhibition made me want to go to Sweden more than ever, to experience for myself the nights when the sun doesn't set, the deep forests and the waves crashing on the shores of Fårö.
Cries and Whispers
After finishing work on Tuesday, I walked by the river Spree from Treptower Park to Alex via Kreuzberg with the sky turning pink and gold, stopping off in a café whose name I no longer remember for a coffee. Before that there was a walk in the Bürgerpark close to where I live, sitting outside for a hot cholcoate while children cycled and played ball games nearby. I'm going to miss the golden crispness of the winter light.
In the Bürgerpark in Pankow
Finally, if you have time, I can really recommend making Suzy's wonderful tomato, fennel and goat's cheese tart (recipe here) and Heidi's delicious Swedish rye cookies (click here). Have a great weekend!