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THE VOICE OF BERGMAN

Sweden, 1997 (MIFF 1998, Documentaries)

Director: Gunnar Bergdahl

"An inspiring documentary, The Voice of Bergman offers a rare and fascinating opportunity to hear 79 year old Swedish master Ingmar Bergman speak for almost an hour and a half about what the cinema means to him. Soberly lensed without music, commentary or film clips, this first documentary by Gunnar Bergdahl, director of the Göteborg Film Festival (where Bergman is honorary president) is a fine example of non-intrusive journalism and provides an important permanent record of the great director's artistic thoughts and influences. As per a contract with Bergman, the film is not available for commercial sale to television or any other medium, and festival audiences will be its sole beneficiaries.

"Wearing gold eyeglasses, a flannel shirt and a devilish goatee, Bergman discourses freely. Director and subject agreed beforehand not to discuss Bergman's films, but instead to focus on his views of others' work. Editing together roughly half the material he shot on a single day at the Göteborg Film Festival, Bergdahl and editor Robert Stengård divide the material into eight sections including 'The Word and the Image', 'The Music of Close-up' and 'The Insanity of Film'.

"'Film is the only art form to convey the human face,' stresses Bergman, whose creative process starts with imagining characters simply talking to one another. He considers film-watching close to a hypnotic state, an 'endlessly fascinating journey into your emotions.' A film that doesn't move people to laugh or cry is 'meaningless'. The secret is to 'open the wound of the story'... all in all cinema represents a 'grand and impenetrable experience'." - Variety

Gunnar Bergdahl was born in Stockholm, 1951. He worked as a film critic for the Göteborg-Posten for a number of years and in 1989 founded the film journal Filmkonst. Bergdahl has been involved with Göteborg Film Festival since the mid-1980s and was appointed director in 1994. He has worked as a producer of documentaries - En Dag På Stranden (1993) and Betraktelse (1994) - The Voice of Bergman is Bergdahl's first film as director.

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