Bergman’s movie-watching, François Ozon, and Charlotte Rampling, recipient of the Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlinale

Posted on February 7, 2019


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How did Ingmar Bergman watch movies? In the theatres, like everyone else? Apparently not, according to one of the chapters in Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, by the Swedish film critic Jan Aghed. He writes that the governing board of the Swedish Film Institute, the equivalent of the French Cinémathèque, made a special decision for the legendary filmmaker’s benefit. “Every spring, he requests 150 films from the Institute’s archive. In June, all these films are delivered by truck to his house on Fårö island, where he can view them in the ultra-modern screening room that he has built. All summer long, he sees a movie at three in the afternoon, five days a week, often in the company of children and vacationing grandchildren. Each Monday, he gives them a program which lists the films that will be screened that week.”

Fascinating as all this is, what, you may wonder, it has to do with the topic at hand. I’m getting there. Besides these 150 titles, there was another list consisting of the most interesting or most talked-about films that had been shown to the public the previous season. The distributors of these films made them available to Bergman. One of the films that impressed him the most was François Ozon’s Under the Sand (2000), starring Charlotte Rampling, who will receive the Honorary Golden Bear (presented for “an exceptional artistic career”) at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Bergman thought it was superb, and watched it many times. Under the Sand will be screened in the Homage section, along with another (and more popular) Ozon-Rampling collaboration, Swimming Pool.

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