Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words
It was actress Isabella Rossellini who first suggested that director Stig Björkman make a documentary about her mother, Ingrid Bergman. What resulted is Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words or, titled in Sweden, simply Jag är Ingrid (I am Ingrid). Björkman, who has also directed documentaries on Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman, captures the life of the legendary actress, from her childhood in Sweden, move to Hollywood and rise to fame, and charts the different lives she lived in the world cities that she made very much her own: Stockholm, Paris, Rome, London and New York. Sometimes with long stretches of footage accompanied only by music, and a gentle voiceover provided by Alicia Vikander playing the young Bergman reminiscing on her own life, the portrait painted here is intimate and in-depth, if uncritical of the star.
Björkman spends surprisingly little time on much of the leading lady’s work in Hollywood, glossing over the ten years she spent starring in classics such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and Gaslight, pausing to discuss the difficulties of shooting Casablanca during the Second World War. More time is spent on her personal life and relationships, her three marriages and the birth of her four children. Her first marriage to Petter Lindström, and life with their first child Pia, is captured in dreamy home footage, vintage photos and emotive diary entries. A romantic score composed by Michael Nyman completes the picture of the charmed life of an up-and-coming Hollywood starlet. Less idyllic was her second marriage to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. The scandalous affair dealt a blow to her career, with media labelling her a threat to the American family sensibility.
What really sets this film apart from other standard celebrity portraits is its unprecedented access to Bergman’s children, who often appear onscreen together, sharing their fond memories of their mother and adding their personal experiences of lesser-known aspects of her life, such as the unconventional long-distance parenting that her career necessitated. Leaving the viewer to make their own judgements on Bergman’s non-conformist lifestyle, Björkman creates a vision of the actress as a caring mother, a talented performer and a pioneering woman.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is released nationwide on 12th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words here: