imagine: ingrid bergman in her own words review an insight into a beloved star who never learned to love herself

الثلاثاء 27 مارس - آذار 2018 الساعة 11 مساءً / Sama press
عدد القراءات 113



t's extraordinary to imagine now but Ingrid Bergman was once seen as a danger to American womanhood. When the Swedish film star revealed her affair with Roberto Rossellini, the director, in 1946, the House Un-American Activities Committee denounced her and there was pressure from various self-righteous politicians to ban her work.

Bergman’s decision to risk such vituperation seems strange given her intense need for privacy, and Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words often hinted at this contradiction. As an insight into a much-gazed-upon figure in danger of being forgotten, this documentary – featuring home movies, diary entries and interviews with those who knew her – was terrific. I’ve often wondered about the Swedish psyche which, I have been told, treats melancholy as a sort of default setting. Certainly Bergman’s diary entries suggested a woman, loved by millions, who never quite learned to love herself.

She worried about her legacy, felt uneasy about her success at a time when so many actors were out of work and questioned her feelings for her many lovers, who included Gregory Peck and Robert Capa. At other times, Bergman’s thoughts were more succinct, though no less telling. Recalling a meeting with David O Selznick, the Hollywood producer, she wrote: “He sat, looked, praised my English, then left.”

The unhappiness went back to her childhood, and a diary entry from when she was 13 showed an intense desperation. “God. My God. Help Dad. Make me calm. God. I beg you. Make Dad well. Don’t abandon us.”

In fact, Bergman would famously abandon her own children in pursuit of both a career and personal happiness. Their feelings at the time were not articulated here, but there was a suggestion that they saw her as a fabulous friend rather than a mother.

“The reality is that children aren’t always very interesting,” said Bergman’s eldest daughter, Pia Lindström.

But the relationship was complex. Bergman, one of the most-filmed women in the world, was rarely without a home-movie camera and she recorded family holidays with humour, warmth and a certain degree of obsessiveness, as if to make amends for her sustained absences.

Sometimes, she seemed to display the varied shades of an Ibsen heroine, but for all the soul searching that this documentary indulged in, Bergman remained an enigma. And that, of course, is exactly how it should be.



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