"Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words"
An intimate portrait of the luminous actress
By Al Alexander, enterprisenews.com
“I’ve gone from saint to whore and back again, all in one lifetime.”
Cancer took her away, but we’ll always have Ingrid.
Stig Bjorkman's documentary "Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words" raids the archives to unearth letters, diaries and home movies and profits by a a huge assist from Bergman's daughter, Isabella Rossellini.
But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Bergman’s writings (read by fellow Swede Alicia Vikander) tell us that what hurt her most made her stronger, an admirable trait in a business where “no” is a way of life. Those who knew Bergman best also intriguingly speculate that her love for the camera was born out of her father’s obsession with photographing her when she was a child. In a way, movies became a way for her to stay close to her beloved dad. It’s also proffered that those times with her father might explain why she frequently fell in love with her leading men, then dumped them the minute the director called it a wrap.
History tells us that Alfred Hitchcock, who directed her in “Notorious” and “Spellbound,” wished she felt like that about him. But if there was a filmmaker she might have been attracted to, it was Ingmar Bergman, who she finally got to work with later in her life. According to Ingmar’s former lover, Liv Ullmann, the two Bergmans displayed extraordinary passion when they disagreed on set. But as Ullmann slyly points out, “the genius” always got his way.
The heart of “In Her Own Words” lies in those priceless home movies. We’re told that when Bergman wasn’t in front of a camera, she was behind one, mostly filming her children. The fun and smiles abound, but there’s also a hint of underlying melancholy that gets to you, especially when her four kids unanimously say they don’t resent their mother, they just wish she was around more. Like us, they’re left to cherish the time they did have. Eerily, it’s like “Casablanca.” Cancer took her away, but we’ll always have Ingrid. So, here’s looking at you, Kid.