Bergman web site to launch in September

The start date for the anticipated international website dedicated to Ingmar Bergman - has been announced. The electronic publication of assorted artifacts of the great Swedish film director will be launched on September 1st.

The Ingmar Bergman website was initiated by The Ingmar Bergman Foundation and will feature screenplays, plays, interviews sound files, story boards and film clips.

Bergman donated 44 cartons of his material to the Swedish Film Institute library three years ago, with the request that Maaret Koskinen go through the material first. Koskinen is associate professor of cinema studies at Stockholm University and author of one of the best studies on the filmmaker Everything Is, Nothing Represents: Ingmar Bergman and Interartiality (2001).

An interart/intermedia focus (theatre, music literature and film) in the work of Ingmar Bergman will be the subject of the Bergman Symposium (May 30-June 1) hosted by the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and Stockholm University (see listings). It brings some of the best Bergman scholars, colleagues and devotees to Stockholm, including Lars von Trier, Erland Josephson and Pernilla August.

“Right from the outset I have viewed it as a matter of priority for the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and the Film Institute to establish a regular meeting-point for the world’s leading Bergman scholars in the form of a symposium,” said Åse Kleveland, chair of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and CEO of the Swedish Film Institute.

“Thanks to tremendous enthusiasm and support from the administration of Stockholm University, the symposium is now a reality. Our aim is to make it a regular event to be held once every two years.”

“It is particularly apt that it should take place in the same year that sees the launch this autumn of the major new website, Ingmar Bergman Face to Face,” added Kleveland.

A trailer for the site is currently available:

Moira Sullivan

Moira Sullivan is a freelance journalist and member of the Swedish Film Critics’ Association


How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

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The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.