Ingmar Bergman quotes

Ingmar Bergman photo
74   4

Ingmar Bergman

Birthdate: 14. July 1918
Date of death: 30. July 2007

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer, and producer who worked in film, television, theatre and radio. He is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of all time, and is most famous for films such as The Seventh Seal , Wild Strawberries , Persona , Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander . Also well-regarded are works such as Winter Light , The Silence , and Scenes from a Marriage .

Bergman directed over sixty films and documentaries for cinematic release and for television, most of which he also wrote. He also directed over 170 plays. From 1953, he forged a powerful creative partnership with his full-time cinematographer Sven Nykvist. Among his company of actors were Harriet and Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Gunnar Björnstrand, Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in Sweden, and numerous films from Through a Glass Darkly onward were filmed on the island of Fårö. His work often deals with death, illness, faith, betrayal, bleakness and insanity.

Philip French referred to Bergman as "one of the greatest artists of the 20th century [...] he found in literature and the performing arts a way of both recreating and questioning the human condition." Mick LaSalle argued, "Like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce in literature, Ingmar Bergman strove to capture and illuminate the mystery, ecstasy and fullness of life, by concentrating on individual consciousness and essential moments. His achievement is unsurpassed."

Works

Laterna Magica
Ingmar Bergman

Quotes Ingmar Bergman

„For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist? Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world? Or, if God doesn't exist, what do we do then? What does our world look like then? In none of this was there the least political colour.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Stig Bjorkman interview <!-- pages 12-14 -->
Context: That I wasn't interested in politics or social matters, that's dead right. I was utterly indifferent. After the war and the discovery of the concentration camps, and with the collapse of political collaborations between the Russians and the Americans, I just contracted out. My involvement became religious. I went in for a psychological, religious line... the salvation-damnation issue, for me, was never political. It was religious. For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist? Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world? Or, if God doesn't exist, what do we do then? What does our world look like then? In none of this was there the least political colour. My revolt against bourgeois society was a revolt-against-the-father. I was a peripheral fellow, regarded with deep suspicion from every quarter... When I arrived in Gothenburg after the war, the actors at the Municipal Theatre fell into distinct groups: old ex-Nazis, Jews, and anti-Nazis. Politically speaking, there was dynamite in that company: but Torsten Hammaren, the head of the theatre, held it together in his iron grasp.

„I suppose that's what the final sequence tries to express. The notion of love as the only thinkable form of holiness.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

On the ideas of God presented in Hour of the Wolf (1968); Torsten Manns interview <!-- pages 164-167 -->
Context: As far as I recall, it's a question of the total dissolution of all notions of an other-worldly salvation. During those years this was going on in me all the time and being replaced by a sense of the holiness — to put it clumsily — to be found in man himself. The only holiness which really exists. A holiness wholly of this world. And I suppose that's what the final sequence tries to express. The notion of love as the only thinkable form of holiness.
At the same time another line of development in my idea of God begins here, one that has perhaps grown stronger over the years. The idea of the Christian God as something destructive and fantastically dangerous, something filled with risk for the human being and bringing out in him dark destructive forces instead of the opposite.

„I was very cruel to actors and to other people. I think I was a very, very unpleasant young man. If I met the young Ingmar today, I think I would say, "You are very talented and I will see if I can help you, but I don't think I want anything else to do with you."“

—  Ingmar Bergman

As quoted in "Ingmar Bergman: Summing Up A Life In Film" by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times Magazine (26 June 1983).
Context: I was very cruel to actors and to other people. I think I was a very, very unpleasant young man. If I met the young Ingmar today, I think I would say, "You are very talented and I will see if I can help you, but I don't think I want anything else to do with you." I don't say I'm pleasant now, but I think I changed slowly in my 50's. At least I hope I've changed.

„We went to morning services in variouis places and were deeply impressed by the spiritual poverty of these churches, by the lack of any congregation and the miserable spiritual status of the clergy, the poverty of their sermons, and the nonchalance and indifference of the ritual.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

On Winter Light, Jonas Sima interview <!-- pages 173-174 -->
Context: We drove about, looking for churches, my father and I. My father, as you probably know, was a clergyman — he knew all the Uppland churches like the back of his hand. We went to morning services in variouis places and were deeply impressed by the spiritual poverty of these churches, by the lack of any congregation and the miserable spiritual status of the clergy, the poverty of their sermons, and the nonchalance and indifference of the ritual.
In one church, I remember — and I think it has a great deal to do with the end of the film — Father and I were sitting together. My father had already been retired for many years, and was old and frail.... Just before the bell begins to toll, we hear a car outside, a shining Volvo: the clergyman climbs out hurriedly, and there is a faint buzz from the vestry, and then the clergyman appears before he ought to — when the bell stops, that is — and says he feels very poorly and that he's talked to the rector and the rector has said he can use an abbrviated form of the service and drop the part at the altar. So there would be just one psalm and a sermon and another psalm. And goes out. Whereon my father, furious, began hammering on the pew, got to his feet and marched out into the vestry, where a long mumbled conversation ensued; after which the churchwarden also went in, then someone ran up the organ gallery to fetch the organist, after which the churchwarden came out and announced that there would be a complete service after all. My father took the service at the altar, but at the beginning and the end.
In some way I feel the end of the play was influenced by my father's intervention — that at all costs one must do what it is one's duty to do, particularly in spiritual contexts. Even if it can seem meaningless.

„I am very much aware of my own double self… The well-known one is very under control; everything is planned and very secure. The unknown one can be very unpleasant. I think this side is responsible for all the creative work — he is in touch with the child.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

As quoted in "Ingmar Bergman: Summing Up A Life In Film" http://web.archive.org/web/20110913212122/http://bergmanorama.webs.com/kakutani_nyt83.htm by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times Magazine (26 June 1983)].
Context: I am very much aware of my own double self... The well-known one is very under control; everything is planned and very secure. The unknown one can be very unpleasant. I think this side is responsible for all the creative work — he is in touch with the child. He is not rational, he is impulsive and extremely emotional. Perhaps it is not even a "he," but a "she."

„I was a peripheral fellow, regarded with deep suspicion from every quarter…“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Stig Bjorkman interview <!-- pages 12-14 -->
Context: That I wasn't interested in politics or social matters, that's dead right. I was utterly indifferent. After the war and the discovery of the concentration camps, and with the collapse of political collaborations between the Russians and the Americans, I just contracted out. My involvement became religious. I went in for a psychological, religious line... the salvation-damnation issue, for me, was never political. It was religious. For me, in those days, the great question was: Does God exist? Or doesn't God exist? Can we, by an attitude of faith, attain to a sense of community and a better world? Or, if God doesn't exist, what do we do then? What does our world look like then? In none of this was there the least political colour. My revolt against bourgeois society was a revolt-against-the-father. I was a peripheral fellow, regarded with deep suspicion from every quarter... When I arrived in Gothenburg after the war, the actors at the Municipal Theatre fell into distinct groups: old ex-Nazis, Jews, and anti-Nazis. Politically speaking, there was dynamite in that company: but Torsten Hammaren, the head of the theatre, held it together in his iron grasp.

„For me, hell has always been a most suggestive sort of place; but I've never regarded it as being located anywhere else than on earth. Hell is created by human beings — on earth!“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Torsten Manns interview <!-- p. 40 -->
Context: Now let's get this Devil business straight, once and for all. To begin at the beginning: the notion of God, one might say, has changed aspect over the years, until it has either become so vague that it has faded away altogether or else has turned into something entirely different. For me, hell has always been a most suggestive sort of place; but I've never regarded it as being located anywhere else than on earth. Hell is created by human beings — on earth!
What I believed in those days — and believed in for a long time — was the existence of a virulent evil, in no way dependent upon environmental or hereditary factors. Call it original sin or whatever you like — anyway an active evil, of which human beings, as opposed to animals, have a monopoly. Our very nature, qua human beings, is that inside us we always carry around destructive tendencies, conscious or unconscious, aimed both at ourselves and at the outside world.
As a materialization of this virulent, indestructible, and — to us — inexplicable and incomprehensble evil, I manufactured a personage possessing the diabolical traits of a mediaeval morality figure. In various contexts I'd made it into a sort of private game to have a diabolic figure hanging around. His evil was one of the springs in my watch-works. And that's all there is to the devil-figure in my early films... Unmotivated cruelty is something which never ceases to fascinate me; and I'd very much like to know the reason for it. Its source is obscure and I'd very much like to get at it.

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„A French critic cleverly wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman." It is witty but unfortunate. For me, that is.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Images : My Life in Films (1990)
Context: A French critic cleverly wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman." It is witty but unfortunate. For me, that is. I think it is only too true that Bergman (Ingmar, that is) did a Bergman... I love and admire the filmmaker Tarkovsky and believe him to be one of the greatest of all time. My admiration for Fellini is limitless. But I also feel that Tarkovsky began to make Tarkovsky films and that Fellini began to make Fellini films. Yet Kurosawa has never made a Kurosawa film. I have never been able to appreciate Buñuel. He discovered at an early stage that it is possible to fabricate ingenious tricks, which he elevated to a special kind of genius, particular to Buñuel, and then he repeated and varied his tricks. He always received applause. Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.

„In this profession, I always admire people who are going on, who have a sort of idea and, however crazy it is, are putting it through; they are putting people and things together, and they make something. I always admire this.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

On Jean-Luc Godard in an interview with John Simon (1971).
Context: In this profession, I always admire people who are going on, who have a sort of idea and, however crazy it is, are putting it through; they are putting people and things together, and they make something. I always admire this. But I can't see his pictures. I sit for perhaps twenty-five or thirty or fifty minutes and then I have to leave, because his pictures make me so nervous. I have the feeling the whole time that he wants to tell me things, but I don't understand what it is, and sometimes I have the feeling that he's bluffing, double-crossing me.

„My basic view of things is — not to have any basic view of things. From having been exceedingly dogmatic, my views on life have gradually dissolved. They don't exist any longer…“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Stig Bjorkman interview <!-- p. 17-18 -->
Context: My basic view of things is — not to have any basic view of things. From having been exceedingly dogmatic, my views on life have gradually dissolved. They don't exist any longer... I've a strong impression that our world is about to go under. Our political systems are deeply compromised and have no further uses. Our social behavior patterns — interior and exterior — have proved a fiasco. The tragic thing is, we neither can nor want to, nor have the strength to alter course. It's too late for revolutions, and deep down inside ourselves we no longer even believe in their positive effects. Just around the corner an insect world is waiting for us — and one day it's going to roll in over our ultra-individualized existence. Otherwise I'm a respectable social democrat.

„Today we say all art is political. But I'd say all art has to do with ethics. Which after all really comes to the same thing. It's a matter of attitudes.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Jonas Sima interview <!-- pages 176-178 -->
Context: Today we say all art is political. But I'd say all art has to do with ethics. Which after all really comes to the same thing. It's a matter of attitudes. … All this talk about me standing aside, cutting myself off and so forth, has always amazed me... I've stated, firmly and clearly, that though as an artist I'm not politically involved, I obviously am an expression of the society I live in. Anything else would be grotesque. But I don't make propaganda for either one attitude or the other. No. As I told you, I vote for the Social Democrats. Their way of solving social problems comes closest to what I regard as decent. That I also find their actual solutions odd in many ways is another matter...

„Well, we're grasping for two things at once. Partly for communion with others — that's the deepest instinct in us. And partly, we're seeking security. By constant communion with others we hope we shall be able to accept the horrible fact of our total solitude.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Torsten Manns interview <!-- pages 164-167 -->
Context: Well, we're grasping for two things at once. Partly for communion with others — that's the deepest instinct in us. And partly, we're seeking security. By constant communion with others we hope we shall be able to accept the horrible fact of our total solitude. We're always reaching out for new projects, new structure, new systems in order to abolish — partly or wholly — our insight into our loneliness. If it weren't so, religious systems would never arise.

„I know the first film I ever saw — it must have been some time in 1924, when I was six or so… was Black Beauty.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Stig Bjorkman interview <!-- pages 6-7 -->
Context: I know the first film I ever saw — it must have been some time in 1924, when I was six or so... was Black Beauty. About a stallion. I still recall a sequence with fire. It was burning, I remember that vividly. And I remember too how it excited me, and how afterwards we bought the book of Black Beauty and how I learned the chapter on the fire by heart — at that time I still hadn't learned to read.

„The image that later became famous of the Dance of Death beneath the dark cloud was improvised in only a few minutes. That's how things can happen on the set.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Images : My Life in Films (1990)
Context: The final scene when Death dances off with the travelers was…shot at Hovs hallar. We had packed up for the day because of an approaching storm. Suddenly, I caught sight of a strange cloud. Gunnar Fischer hastily set the camera back into place. Several of the actors had already returned to where we were staying, so a few grips and a couple of tourists danced in their place, having no idea what it was all about. The image that later became famous of the Dance of Death beneath the dark cloud was improvised in only a few minutes. That's how things can happen on the set.

„The moments before he died, Christ was seized by doubt. Surely that must have been his greatest hardship? God's silence.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Algot Frövik (Allan Edwall) in Winter Light (1962).
Films
Context: When Jesus was nailed to the cross — and hung there in torment - he cried out — "God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" He cried out as loud as he could. He thought that his heavenly father had abandoned him. He believed everything he'd ever preached was a lie. The moments before he died, Christ was seized by doubt. Surely that must have been his greatest hardship? God's silence.

„When film is not a document, it is dream.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

On Andrei Tarkovsky in Laterna Magica (1987); The Magic Lantern : An Autobiography as translated by Joan Tate (1988). <!-- p. 73 --> [also sometimes referred to as The Magical Lantern]
Context: When film is not a document, it is dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn't explain. What should he explain anyhow? He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media. All my life I have hammered on the doors of the rooms in which he moves so naturally. Only a few times have I managed to creep inside. Most of my conscious efforts have ended in embarrassing failure...

„One of the strongest feelings I remember from my childhood is, precisely, of being humiliated; of being knocked about by words, acts, or situations.
Isn't it a fact that children are always feeling deeply humiliated in their relations with grown-ups and each other? I have a feeling children spend a good deal of their time humiliating one another. Our whole education is just one long humiliation, and it was even more so when I was a child.“

—  Ingmar Bergman

Torsten Manns interview <!-- pages 80-81 -->
Context: One of the strongest feelings I remember from my childhood is, precisely, of being humiliated; of being knocked about by words, acts, or situations.
Isn't it a fact that children are always feeling deeply humiliated in their relations with grown-ups and each other? I have a feeling children spend a good deal of their time humiliating one another. Our whole education is just one long humiliation, and it was even more so when I was a child. One of the wounds I've found hardest to bear in my adult life has been the fear of humiliation, and the sense of being humiliated... Every time I read a review, for instance — whether laudatory or not — this feeling awakes... To humiliate and be humiliated, I think, is a crucial element in our whole social structure. It's not only the artist I'm sorry for. It's just that I know exactly where he feels most humiliated. Our bureaucracy, for instance. I regard it as in high degree built up on humiliation, one of the nastiest and most dangerous of all poisons.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Selma Lagerlöf photo
Selma Lagerlöf3
Swedish female writer
Alfred Hitchcock photo
Alfred Hitchcock44
British filmmaker
Axel Munthe photo
Axel Munthe15
Swedish physician
Federico Fellini photo
Federico Fellini36
Italian filmmaker
Billy Wilder photo
Billy Wilder23
American filmmaker
Franco Battiato photo
Franco Battiato4
Italian singer-songwriter, composer, and filmmaker
Tim Burton photo
Tim Burton43
American filmmaker
Alejandro Jodorowsky photo
Alejandro Jodorowsky33
Filmmaker and comics writer
Charlie Chaplin photo
Charlie Chaplin75
British comic actor and filmmaker
Jean Cocteau photo
Jean Cocteau123
French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager …
Today anniversaries
Barack Obama photo
Barack Obama1144
44th President of the United States of America 1961
Louis Armstrong photo
Louis Armstrong11
American jazz trumpeter, composer and singer 1901 - 1971
Hans Christian Andersen photo
Hans Christian Andersen41
Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet 1805 - 1875
Коул Спроус photo
Коул Спроус1
American actor 1992
Another 48 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Selma Lagerlöf photo
Selma Lagerlöf3
Swedish female writer
Alfred Hitchcock photo
Alfred Hitchcock44
British filmmaker
Axel Munthe photo
Axel Munthe15
Swedish physician
Federico Fellini photo
Federico Fellini36
Italian filmmaker
Billy Wilder photo
Billy Wilder23
American filmmaker