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Ingmar Bergman, dead at 89



Tbdbergman073107 Ingmar Bergman, one of the most influential film directors of the 20th century, died Monday at his home on the Swedish island of Faaroe, his family announced without giving a cause of death. He was 89.

Your average Juice* reader — read: born after 1972 — may not be familiar with Bergman’s specific work (despite churning out about a movie a year at one point), but his fascination with dark themes of death and sexual anguish resonated so deeply they continue to influence today’s films.

For many movie buffs, Bergman was the greatest of the authorial filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s, outranking such figures as Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel or Jean-Luc Godard. He won three Oscars for best foreign language film and was acclaimed for arthouse favorites like 1957’s The Seventh Seal and 1982’s Fanny and Alexander, which he wrote following a six-year exile from Sweden on tax-fraud allegations.

“I was very sorry to hear Ingmar passed away,” Bergman fan Woody Allen said. “He was a friend and certainly the finest film director of my lifetime.”

His severe upbringing by a clergyman father in Sweden led to his focus on family relationships and ultimate rejection of religion. His tendency to center on female roles probably also stemmed from his own penchant for marriage — he was wed five times and fathered nine children.

He kept busy late into life, directing and writing screenplays, including the autobiographical saga The Best Intentions which, reduced to three-hour film length, won the 1992 Cannes Golden Palm for director Bille August.

“I don’t watch my own films very often,” he admitted in a rare interview on Swedish television three years ago. “I become so jittery and ready to cry... and miserable. I think it’s awful.”

-- With material from AFP and Reuters

[Photo: Getty Images]

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:17am]


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