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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 

 

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Bergman showcase at IFFI 2018

Bergman showcase at IFFI 2018

2018 marks the centenary of Ingmar Bergman's birth. On this occasion, when the centenary celebrations are in full swing across the globe, IFFI 2018 will be showcasing 7 of the best films from his substantial filmography.

These films are Summer With Monika, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Persona, Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, and Saraband.

In addition to these seven films, a documentary on Bergman titled Bergman Island, directed by Marie Nyrerod, which presents the master behind the camera, has also been included in this section. A Swedish documentary filmmaker, Nyrerod shot the film, which contains a remarkable series of extremely candid interviews with Bergman at his home on the Faro Island in Sweden, a few years before his death. The documentary is probably the most in-depth exploration of Bergman’s work, his ambitions, his fears, his motivations and his passions.

The official opening of this section is scheduled on 21st November 2018, with a panel discussion followed by the screening of ‘Wild Strawberries’.

About Ingmar Bergman

Bergman is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time whose battery of soul-searching films down the years have inspired a legion of filmmakers. This list includes the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, amongst others. 10 of his films are listed in the 5th edition of ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die’ (edited by Steven Jay Schneider). He is the third best-represented director (behind Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks) and has the greatest number of writing credits on that list, of any screenwriter. Four of the seven films being screened at IFFI this year are a part of that list, including The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), Persona (1966) and Fanny and Alexander (1982). The other films on the list are Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Shame (1968) and Cries and Whispers (1972).

Synopsis of the films to be screened under Retrospective of Ingmar Bergman:

Persona

Persona is a 1966 Swedish psychological drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. The story revolves around a young nurse named Alma (Andersson) and her patient, well-known stage actress Elisabet Vogler (Ullmann), who has suddenly stopped speaking. They move to a cottage, where Alma cares for Elisabet, confides in her and begins having trouble distinguishing herself from her patient.

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries is a 1957 Swedish drama film, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The original Swedish title is Smultronstället, which literally means "The wild strawberry patch" but idiomatically signifies an underrated gem of a place, often with personal or sentimental value. The cast includes Victor Sjöström in his final screen performance as an old man recalling his past, as well as Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin and Gunnar Björnstrand. Max von Sydow also appears in a small role. Bergman wrote the screenplay while hospitalised. Exploring philosophical themes such as introspection and human existence, Wild Strawberries is often considered to be one of Bergman's greatest and most moving films.

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish historical fantasy film, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Denmark during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death (Bengt Ekerot), who has come to take his life. Bergman developed the film from his own play Wood Painting. The Seventh Seal is considered a classic of world cinema, as well as one of the greatest movies of all time. It established Bergman as a world-renowned director, containing scenes which have become iconic through homages, critical analysis, and parodies.

Saraband:

Saraband is a 2003 Swedish drama film, directed by Ingmar Bergman, and his final film. It was made for Swedish television, but released theatrically in a longer cut outside Sweden. Its United States theatrical release, with English subtitles, was in July 2005. The Swedish television version is 107 minutes, while theatrical releases run just under 2 hours. The story is a sequel to Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (1973), bringing back the characters of Johan and Marianne. It is a co-production of Sweden, Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark, and Austria.

Summer with Monika

Summer with Monika is a 1953 Swedish film, directed by Ingmar Bergman, based on Per Anders Fogelström's 1951 novel of the same title. It was controversial abroad at the time of its first release for its frank depiction of nudity and, along with the film One Summer of Happiness from the year before, directed by Arne Mattsson, it helped to create the reputation of Sweden as a sexually liberated country.

Autumn Sonata

Autumn Sonata is a 1978 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and starring Ingrid Bergman (in her final film role), Liv Ullmann and Lena Nyman. It tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter. All his films from this point, even those eventually shown in theatres, were television productions. It is generally well-regarded by critics.

Fanny and Alexander

Fanny and Alexander is a 1982 historical period drama film, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The plot focuses on two siblings and their large family in Uppsala, Sweden during the first decade of the twentieth century. Following the death of the eponymous children's father (Allan Edwall), their mother (Ewa Fröling) remarries a prominent bishop (Jan Malmsjö) who becomes abusive towards Alexander for his vivid imagination.

Bergman Island

Bergman Island is a documentary on Bergman directed by Marie Nyrerod which presents the master behind the camera. This is the first time ever that a film-maker has access to Ingmar Bergman in his home at the small island Fårö in the Baltic Sea. Bergman and the Cinema starts with Frenzy from 1944 and ends with Saraband from 2003. It contains unique behind-the-scenes material from Bergman's private archive. Bergman and the Theatre is about some of Bergman's 125 theatrical stagings and about his delight with the TV medium with successes as Scenes from a Marriage. In Bergman and Fårö Island, he talks about the childhood that shaped him.

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

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