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Why I Make Movies | Ingmar Bergman

Our Sunday Reading List comes from the ‘gloomy Swede’, Ingmar Bergman, director of the Seventh Seal (1957), Persona (1966), Wild Strawberries (1957), films which are considered classics in world cinema.

In this essay, he writes on his love for films and what drove him to make such films, narrating his fascination with the reel ever since his childhood to what means to make a movie in Sweden. His movies often dealt with a human being’s existential crisis, human suffering, the transient nature of life, all his philosophy portrayed as brilliantly on screen as his thoughts might have flowed to him. For many, he is the Albert Camus of cinema. He writes:

I have often wished for a kind of notation which would enable me to put on paper all the shades and tones of my vision, to record distinctly the inner structure of a film. For when I stand in the artistically devastating atmosphere of the studio, my hands and head full of all the trivial and irritating details that go with motion picture production, it often takes a tremendous effort to remember how I originally saw and thought out this or that sequence, or what the relation was between the scene of four weeks ago and that of today. If I could express myself clearly, in explicit symbols, then the irrational factors in my work would be almost eliminated, and I could work with absolute confidence that whenever I liked I could prove the relationship between the part and the whole and put my finger on the rhythm, the continuity of the film. Thus the script is a very imperfect technical basis for a film.

Read the full essay here.

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