Sunday, August 26, 2007

From Short Story to Film to Autobiography: Intermedial Variations in Ingmar Bergman's Writings and Films

[These are excerpts from In the Beginning Was the Word. Ingmar Bergman and His Early Writings (Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 2002), originally published in Film International #1.]

One autumn a few years ago the author of this article was in the process of editing a special issue about Ingmar Bergman for a now-defunct cinematic journal. The idea was to focus on Bergman the author in some sort of interartial or intermedial spirit, and for this purpose we wanted to print his never-produced screenplay “The Fish. Farce for Film” from 1950, written in prose form.

The only thing we now needed was the author’s permission. Thus, a strictly businesslike request for the right to use “The Fish” was sent off. But we did not necessarily expect any answer. I myself had been in personal contact with Ingmar Bergman only once before when, a week after defending my doctoral dissertation about his films (
Plays and Mirrors. A Study in the Cinematic Aesthetics of Ingmar Bergman, 1993), he had completely unexpectedly phoned me up. “Of course Bergman wants to check up on who that person is who has the gall to write a dissertation about his films without contacting him personally,” explained a clear-headed woman friend, at the same time touching on the reason why I had kept my distance: a certain concern about the author’s possible desire to interfere. read more

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