Ingmar Bergman, Danced

Janos Gereben on April 17, 2018
Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann near their home in Fårö in 1968, on Bergman's 50th birthday - 50 years ago | Credit: Gunnar Källström

The great film director Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) was also a choreographer, so it is especially appropriate that on the centenary of his birth, Bergman is honored by his fellow Swedish artists in an unusual dance film.

Alexander Ekman dances in the Bergman film sequence he choreographed | Credit: Jörgen Bodesand

Ingmar Bergman Through the Choreographer’s Eye will be shown by the S.F. Dance Film Festival on April 29 in the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

Officials from the Consulate General of Sweden are among the guests expected at the JCC screening. Ingmar Bergman, Jr., executive producer of the film, and dancer/choreographer Alexander Ekman will participate in a post-screening discussion and Q&A followed by a reception celebrating Bergman.

The film of rehearsals and performances was made by four of Sweden’s most innovative choreographers, who travelled to Bergman’s home on Fårö to explore and get inspired by the place. Besides Ekman, they are Pär Isberg, Pontus Lidberg, and Joakim Stephenson. Principal dancers include Jenny Nilson, Nathalie Nordquist, Oscar Salomonsson, and Nadja Sellrup.

The dances are linked together with images of the epic natural beauty of Fårö and Bergman’s poetic home Hammars, including the voice of Bergman himself revealing his thoughts about movements and music.

Bergman Jr. and Marie-Louise Sid-Sylwander of the Royal Swedish Ballet were executive producers of the film, which was produced and directed by Fredrik Stattin.

Nathalie Nordquist and Jenny Nilson in a piece choreographed by Joakim Stephenson | Credit: Jörgen Bodesand

Bergman’s involvement with dance was recently the subject of a Museum of Modern Art exhibit and film documentary Donya Feuer: Collaborations with Ingmar Bergman, Romola Nijinsky, and Others. Feuer, the late American dancer, choreographer, and theater and film director went from the Martha Graham Dance Company and collaborations with Pina Bausch in New York to Sweden, where Bergman appointed her director of the Royal Dramatic Theater of Stockholm. There she formed her own dance company, choreographed and performed in Bergman productions, served as an assistant director for his theater work, and directed many plays on her own.