DIRECTED BY: I. BERGMAN
This year’s festival leitmotif “Šepoty a výkřiky” (cries and whispers) refers to the title of the emblematic film by Ingmar Bergman, whose 100th birthday occurred last year. We are featuring his retrospective within the current programme for obvious reasons – the representative array of films is completed not only with a documentary film Searching for Ingmar Bergman and a seminar by the film specialist, the journalist Stanislava Přádná, but also with theatre reflections – such as the production Private Confessions which was premiered only at the end of November. “A harsh as well as witty probe into the institution of marriage” based on Bergman’s autobiographical novella – produced by the duo of creative as well as life partners Lucie Trmíková and Jan Nebeský – ranks among the most impressive pieces that emerged on the Czech theatre scene. The very first theatre adaptation of this Bergman text (1999) was prepared by the German director Oliver Reese, whose The Tin Drum will crown this year’s festival.
The most frequently staged Bergman production on Czech stages (a theatre adaptation of a film, to be precise) is Scenes from a Marriage. It also forms the leitmotif of the original collage of the Divadlo Na zábradlí theatre production entitled Personas, which provides new and surprising meanings while making the most celebrated figures of Bergman’s most significant films meet. The stage collage of the director’s obsessive themes resonate with Jan Mikulášek’s sceptical view on interpersonal relationships, which is apparent already in his earlier works (The Stranger, Hedonists, Obsession, etc.), and according to theatre critic Marie Reslová bears features of black slapstick with almost horror-like elements.
While emphasising psychological and realistic acting and unfeigned major inner emotions, which become apparent on the intentionally dim stage, Ivan Buraj also acknowledges Bergman’s poetics in his piece The Philistines. Whether you know Bergman’s works casually or by heart, whether you are sitting in a theatre or a film hall, you are bound to have an extraordinary and unforgettable experience.
“Theatre is my wife. Film is my mistress.”
Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007), Swedish theatre and radio production director, screenwriter, writer and most importantly one of the most remarkable artists of world cinematography, ranks among the legends that have forever changed the entire film culture. Instead of completing his studies of art and literature at the University in Stockholm, he delved deep into his own artistic creation. He searched for ideas in “inexhaustible” sources of inspiration – childhood and family background bearing seeds of psychological imbalance as well as the internal demons of his tormented characters. He is celebrated for his unique cinematic language, which digs deep into the human psyche and existential anxiety of human beings. His film artistry is highlighted by the peculiar style of his director of photography Sven Nykvist, who worked on all his key films from 1959. Nykvist’s work with light and image beautifully completed the heavy mood of Bergman’s films. Ingmar Bergman made over forty films during his lifetime; among the most important ones, one should mention: The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Communicants/Winter Light (1963), The Silence (1963), Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1967), Cries and Whispers (1973), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), Face to Face (1976), The Serpent’s Egg (1977) and Autumn Sonata (1978). The films The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and Fanny and Alexander (1982) each won an Oscar for foreign language film in the year of their release. The last mentioned three-hour long opus was also his final (and supreme) feature film.