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A Woman’s Face: Ingrid Bergman in Europe

November 4, 2009 - December 17, 2009

A Woman’s Face, November 20

While many viewers will always remember her for American films like Casablanca and Notorious, there is much more to the work of Ingrid Bergman (1915–1982) than her Hollywood heyday. Bergman’s radiant looks and her distinctive combination of sensual directness and exquisite sensitivity were already evident in the films she made in Sweden in the 1930s; it was her work in Intermezzo (1936) that inspired David O. Selznick to sign her to MGM. The American career that followed was abruptly derailed when she had an extramarital affair with Roberto Rossellini and became pregnant with his child during the production of Stromboli in 1949, causing an international uproar and tainting the reception of the fascinating films the director and actress made together. Bergman eventually returned to the United States, but continued working in Europe on occasion; her last big-screen performance was for that other Swedish Bergman, Ingmar, in Autumn Sonata.

“I wanted to be an actress, not a face . . . I wanted to surprise my audience and to surprise myself,” Bergman said. This series is a chance not only to bask in Bergman’s extraordinary beauty, but to discover the varieties of her talent in rare films that still have the power to surprise.

Juliet Clark

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
7:00 p.m. Ingrid Bergman Rarities
(Sweden/Italy/U.S., 1940s–1978). Illustrated lecture by Jon Wengström. Rare films from the archives of the Swedish Film Institute offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of Bergman at work and in private life. (78 mins plus lecture)

Saturday, November 7, 2009
6:30 p.m. Intermezzo
Gustaf Molander (Sweden, 1936). In the Swedish romantic melodrama that landed her a Hollywood contract, Bergman plays a budding pianist swept off her feet by a renowned violinist. (93 mins)

Friday, November 13, 2009
7:00 p.m. The Count of the Old Town
Edvin Adolphson, Sigurd Wallén (Sweden, 1935). A freewheeling comedy about a gang of ruffians on an all-day bender in Stockholm’s Old Town, featuring a baby-faced eighteen-year-old Bergman. (83 mins)

Friday, November 20, 2009
7:00 p.m. Walpurgis Night
Gustaf Edgren (Sweden, 1935). Bergman lusts after her married boss while her father Victor Sjöström bemoans the passionlessness of Swedish youth in this surprising hybrid of erotic satire and anti-abortion tract. (80 mins)

Friday, November 20, 2009
8:40 p.m. A Woman’s Face
Gustaf Molander (Sweden, 1938). Bergman is cast very much against type as a disfigured, bitter blackmailer in this darkly atmospheric Swedish drama. (104 mins)

Saturday, November 21, 2009
6:30 p.m. June Night
Per Lindberg (Sweden, 1940). In this rare, inventively photographed Swedish film, Bergman beautifully plays a sensitive young woman attempting to rebuild her life in Stockholm after her romance with a sailor comes to a violent end. (90 mins)

Saturday, November 28, 2009
6:30 p.m. Stromboli
Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1949). Roberto Rossellini sets the interior drama of Bergman’s character, a Lithuanian refugee married to an Italian fisherman, amid the drama of nature on a volcanic island. (107 mins)

Sunday, November 29, 2009
3:00 p.m. Europa ’51
Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1952). Bergman plays a bourgeois wife called to an unconventional kind of sainthood in Rossellini’s moving study of postwar society and its ethical rootlessness. (110 mins)

Sunday, December 6, 2009
5:15 p.m. Voyage in Italy
Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1953). Bergman and George Sanders are a quarrelling couple traveling through Italy to Naples in Rossellini’s extraordinary drama, a key link between neorealism and the subjective cinema of the early sixties. (83 mins)

Thursday, December 17, 2009
7:00 p.m. Autumn Sonata
Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1978). A Chopin prelude triggers a long-delayed confrontation between concert pianist Bergman and her aggrieved daughter Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman’s intense and penetrating chamber piece. (93 mins)

Series curated by Susan Oxtoby. PFA wishes to thank the following individuals and institutions for their assistance with this retrospective: Jon Wengström, Swedish Film Institute; Svensk Filmindustri; Julie Pearce, Margaret Deriaz, and Simon Duffy, British Film Institute; Marie-Pierre Lessard, La Cinémathèque québécoise; Monique Faulhaber, La Cinémathèque française; James Quandt, TIFF Cinematheque; Brian Belovarac, Janus Films; Gary Palmucci, Kino International; and Amelia Carpenito Antonucci, Istituto Italiano di Cultura San Francisco. Archival prints presented with support from the Packard Humanities Institute.