Sweden celebrates iconic director Ingmar Bergman’s 100th birthday

To understand Sweden, you first need to understand its icons. And they don’t come much more iconic than Sweden’s most influential film director, Ingmar Bergman.

Sweden celebrates iconic director Ingmar Bergman’s 100th birthday
Photo: Creative Commons

Born in Uppsala in 1918, Bergman is widely recognised as one of history’s most accomplished filmmakers. 

Following a prolific career, the director lived his final years alone on the remote Faro Island, before passing away in 2007 aged 89. Had Bergman been alive today, 2018 would be the year he celebrated his 100th birthday.

Throughout his career, Bergman directed more than sixty feature films and documentaries, including the epic historical fantasy ‘The Seventh Seal’ and the 1982 classic ‘Fanny and Alexander’. Many of his films dealt with the recurring themes of faith and doubt, existential misery, infidelity, and humiliation.

His work was both personal and painful, achieving international acclaim and earning him no fewer than three Oscars and nine Oscar nominations throughout the course of his career. He was also the recipient of the first-ever Guldbagge award for his film ‘The Silence’ in 1963.

To mark the centenary of his birth, a series of events celebrating the famed director will run throughout the duration of the year. 

Organised by the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, the festivities will take place around the world, from ‘Hommage á Bergman’, a dance performance taking place between 9th-30th June in Paris,  to ‘The Later Years – A Retrospective’, a month-long film retrospective showing in Maryland this July.

Of course, Sweden too will be celebrating the occasion in a variety of original ways designed to commemorate the Bergman's big year.

Stockholm’s regional film fund has made two major investments to celebrate Bergman in 2018.

“First off, we are financing the biggest documentary ever made about Ingmar Bergman which will hopefully be released during Cannes Film Festival. The second will be a TV series about Bergman which will be released no later than August this year,” says Anette Mattsson, CEO of Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen. 

Bergman also played a starring role at this year's Stockholm Design Week which took place in Sweden's capital at the beginning of February.

Final-year students from the Product Development and Furniture Design program at Träcentrum and the School of Engineering at Jönköping University celebrated Bergman’s centenary by interpreting the director’s work into seven unique pieces of furniture. 

A chaise longue inspired by Bergman's film 'Fanny and Alexander'. 

Each night for seven days, a Bergman film was shown with the piece of furniture it inspired displayed alongside it.

“Ingmar had a lot of chaos in his head and needed a place he could relax,” says Niklas, a second-year furniture design student at Jönköping. 

Along with two fellow students, Niklas designed a chaise longue (pictured above) that was inspired by Bergman's film 'Fanny and Alexander', as well as the director's life and creative process.

“It was hard work and we did a lot of research,” says Niklas of the creative process.

“Bergman was a very complex person, but we feel like this piece really represents him and his work.”

The furniture design project was run in collaboration with the Swedish film commissioners and is due to be displayed in the interior of the Swedish pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018.

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.