Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words (2015) New York Film Festival 2015

The literal translation of the films title is I, INGRID which doesn't sound so hot in English, but in a weird way it's a better title.

This is the story of Bergman told through here diary, her letters, home movies, photos, interviews and children. Its a loving portrait of the woman, her world and her life from her perspective.

And that's about all you need to know. If that thrills you to death you're going to love this and you don't need to read anything I'm going to come up with. If that's not thrilling you may want to take a pass or wait for it to show up on TV.

That's not a flippant remark. It's one that's carefully measured based on my experience seeing the film. The film starts and we are instantly thrown into tragedy as Bergman recounts all of the people who died over the previous year. The film takes a low key stance, which is reinforced by Michael Nyman's score. Life can be terrible and Bergman is wary of it, even in the happy times she still shows the occasional sign of uncertainty. I was kind of depressed and I disconnected with the film.

I do like it but when I had to step away from the screening for a bathroom break I found that I didn't hurry back, I took a moment to check my phone and look for a snack.

I know part of the problem for me was that I kind of knew a great deal of this already. I've been a Bergman fan for years. For me the only thing new here is the mental landscape  but after half an hour I kind of felt I had an idea about that.

Personally I think this is a very good film, but I'm trying to get my head around why the film has garnered so much love and so many prominent places at film festivals, it's not that good. I suspect that the fact that the film doesn't shy away from the controversies in Bergman's life is a big part of it. While it may not dig deep into them it does mention them, at least from her point of view which I guess thrills some.

As I said above- if you are dying to see this you're going to eat it up. If not it's a nice time passer about a great actress.

Th film plays the 5th and 6th at the New York Film Festival. For information and tickets go here.

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