Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film director, screenwriter, producer and playwright. Widely considered one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time, his films are known as "profoundly personal meditations into the myriad struggles facing the psyche and the soul." - Wikipedia
"A Spiritual Matter" is the first-ever adaptation of an Ingmar Bergman script since his passing. In this movie, Viktoria is a 40-year-old woman who seems to have gone mad and develops a compelling and moving monologue of moments that marked her existence. Viktoria (Sophie Marceau), a bishop's daughter and pastor's wife, talks to herself and reveals her intimate world: her joys and woes, her childhood and her relationship with her cheating and aloof husband. She voyages from life to life, seemingly playing several roles. She remembers, dreams, fantasizes and hallucinates, bringing back to life her late husband, mother, father and friends.
by Ingmar Bergman
The finest filmmaker of my lifetime . . . Bergman was a born spinner of tales.” Woody Allen
In this new paperback edition, Ingmar Bergman presents an intimate view of his own unique body of work in film. His career spanned forty years and produced more than fifty films, many of which are considered classics: The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, Persona, Smiles of a Summer Night, Wild Strawberries, and Fanny and Alexander, to name but a few. When he began this book, Bergman had not seen most of his movies since he made them. Resorting to scripts and working notebooks, and especially to memory, he comments brilliantly and always cogently on his failures as well as his successes; on the themes that bind his work together; on his concerns, anxieties, and moments of happiness; on the relationship between his life and art.
Readers are allowed a glimpse of the inner workings behind his well-known masterpieces: his anxiety and pain as he edited a 312 minute Fanny and Alexander for a three-hour feature film release; his attempt to reconcile the towering figures of his parents with Wild Strawberries. He relates his own starkly honest view of his great triumphs and quiet failures. More clearly than ever before, Images allows us to listen to his voice of genius” (Woody Allen, New York Times Book Review).
Scripted by Ingmar Bergman, this very personal film is about a destructive affair which wrecks the marriage of an actress (Marianne) and musician (Markus). Wanting to continue the affair, Marianne moves in with her lover. But she is tormented by Markus' decision not to let her have custody of their daughter. Finally Markus announces he may have a solution to the stalemate, but this leads to deception, lies and ultimately, tragedy.
Character: Mental patient
Inventor Carl Åkerblom is a rosy-cheeked 54 year-old admirer of Franz Schubert - and a patient in the psychiatric ward of Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala, after having attempted to beat to death his fiancée, Pauline Thibault. Together with another patient, Professor Osvald Vogler, they set up a film project: the living talkie. Before long, they set off on a frantic tour with their film, "The Joy of the Joyous Girl"... Written by Fredrik Klasson
Rational, exacting, and self-controlled theater director, Henrik Vogler, often stays after rehearsal to think and plan. On this day, Anna comes back, ostensibly looking for a bracelet. She is the lead in his new production of Stindberg's "A Dream Play." She talks of her hatred for her mother, now dead, an alcoholic actress, who was Vogler's star and lover. Vogler falls into a reverie, remembering a day Anna's mother, Rakel, late in life, came after rehearsal to beg him to come to her apartment. He awakes and Anna reveals the reason she has returned: she jolts him into an emotional response, rare for him, and the feelings of a young woman and an older man play out.
As children in the loving Ekdahl family, Fanny and Alexander enjoy a happy life with their parents, who run a theater company. After their father dies unexpectedly, however, the siblings end up in a joyless home when their mother, Emilie, marries a stern bishop. The bleak situation gradually grows worse as the bishop becomes more controlling, but dedicated relatives make a valiant attempt to aid Emilie, Fanny and Alexander.
After a seven-year absence, Charlotte Andergast travels to Sweden to reunite with her daughter Eva. The pair have a troubled relationship: Charlotte sacrificed the responsibilities of motherhood for a career as a classical pianist. Over an emotional night, the pair reopen the wounds of the past. Charlotte gets another shock when she finds out that her mentally impaired daughter, Helena, is out of the asylum and living with Eva.
Dr. Jenny Isaksson is a psychiatrist whose temporary position at a mental hospital offers only modest responsibilities. With her husband out of the country for a seminar and her daughter at camp, Jenny moves in with her grandparents, expecting a relaxing few months. But it isn't long before unpleasant memories of her childhood, the sudden appearance of strange apparitions, and a near-rape push this otherwise stable woman to the very edge of sanity.
Character: Man in the audience
The Queen of the Night enlists a handsome prince named Tamino to rescue her beautiful kidnapped daughter, Princess Pamina, in this screen adaptation of the beloved Mozart opera. Aided by the lovelorn bird hunter Papageno and a magical flute that holds the power to change the hearts of men, young Tamino embarks on a quest for true love, leading to the evil Sarastro's temple where Pamina is held captive.
A Swedish housewife begins an adulterous affair with a foreign archaeologist. But he is an emotionally scarred man, a Jewish survivor from a concentration camp, consequently, their relationship will be painfully difficult.
In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.
While vacationing on a remote German island with his pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.
A young nurse, Alma, is put in charge of Elisabeth Vogler: an actress who is seemingly healthy in all respects, but will not talk. As they spend time together, Alma speaks to Elisabeth constantly, never receiving any answer. The time they spend together only strengthens the crushing realization that one does not exist.
The pretentious critic Cornelius is writing a biography on a famous cellist and to do some research he goes to stay in his house for a few days. He doesn't manage to get an interview with the man, but by talking to all the women who live with him, he comes to learn a lot about the musician's private life none the less. Cornelius then decides to use this information and tries to blackmail the cellist into performing a composition that he, Cornelius, has written. Written by Leon Wolters
Traveling through an unnamed European country on the brink of war, sickly, intellectual Ester, her sister Anna and Anna's young son, Johan, check into a near-empty hotel. A basic inability to communicate among the three seems only to worsen during their stay. Anna provokes her sister by enjoying a dalliance with a local man, while the boy, left to himself, has a series of enigmatic encounters that heighten the growing air of isolation.
A Swedish pastor fails a loving woman, a suicidal fisherman and God.
A small picturesque town at the turn of the century. The conservative views of the townspeople are shaken when they find out that the school teacher Franzén published his own poetry anonymously many years ago. At the same time he acknowledges his love affair with a waitress at the city hotel, Fanny. What is most upsetting is the fact that Fanny has a grownup daughter, Anna, with no known father. Could their poet teacher be the father although he and Fanny are not married?
Karin hopes to recover from her recent stay at a mental hospital by spending the summer at her family's cottage on a tiny island. Her husband, Martin, cares for her but is frustrated by her physical withdrawal. Her younger brother, Minus, is confused by Karin's vulnerability and his own budding sexuality. Their father, David, cannot overcome his haughty remoteness. Beset by visions, Karin descends further into madness.
The devil has a stye in his eye, caused by the purity of a vicar's daughter. To get rid of it, he sends Don Juan up from hell to seduce the 20 year old Britt-Marie and to rob her of her virginity and her belief in love. She however can resist him and things get even turned around when Don Juan falls in love with her. The fact that he feels love for the first time now, makes him even less attractive to her and Don Juan returns to hell.
Devout Christians Töre and Märeta send their only daughter, the virginal Karin, and their foster daughter, the unrepentant Ingeri, to deliver candles to a distant church. On their way through the woods, the girls encounter a group of savage goat herders who brutally rape and murder Karin as Ingeri remains hidden. When the killers unwittingly seek refuge in the farmhouse of Töre and Märeta, Töre plots a fitting revenge.
When 'Vogler's Magnetic Health Theater' comes to town, there's bound to be a spectacle. Reading reports of a variety of supernatural disturbances at Vogler's prior performances abroad, the leading townspeople (including the police chief and medical examiner) request that their troupe provide them a sample of their act, before allowing them public audiences. The scientific-minded disbelievers try to expose them as charlatans, but Vogler and his crew prove too clever for them.
Crotchety retired doctor Isak Borg travels from Stockholm to Lund, Sweden, with his pregnant and unhappy daughter-in-law, Marianne, in order to receive an honorary degree from his alma mater. Along the way, they encounter a series of hitchhikers, each of whom causes the elderly doctor to muse upon the pleasures and failures of his own life. These include the vivacious young Sara, a dead ringer for the doctor's own first love.
When disillusioned Swedish knight Antonius Block returns home from the Crusades to find his country in the grips of the Black Death, he challenges Death to a chess match for his life. Tormented by the belief that God does not exist, Block sets off on a journey, meeting up with traveling players Jof and his wife, Mia, and becoming determined to evade Death long enough to commit one redemptive act while he still lives.
Early in the 20th century, middle-aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman and his young wife, Anne, have still not consummated their marriage, while Fredrik's son finds himself increasingly attracted to his new stepmother. To make matters worse, Fredrik's old flame Desiree makes a public bet that she can seduce him at a romantic weekend retreat where four couples convene, swapping partners and pairing off in unexpected ways.
After 15 years of marriage, David and Marianne have grown apart. David has had an affair with a patient of his and Marianne has got herself involved with her former lover Carl-Adam, who's also David's best friend. When she travels to Copenhagen to meet Carl-Adam, David takes the same train as she does, making it look coincidental. Spending time together remembering their past and talking about their future, they come to understand each other again, which leads to a reconciliation.
The complicated relationships between a circus ringmaster, his estranged wife and his lover.
Monika from Stockholm falls in love with Harry, a young man on holiday. When she becomes pregnant they are forced into a marriage, which begins to fall apart soon after they take up residence in a cramped little flat.
A jaded prima ballerina reminisces about her first love affair after she is unexpectedly sent her lover's old diary.
Character: Father at the maternity ward
After discovering that his wife has been killed in an accident, Stig looks back on their relationship, beginning with when he and Marta were starting out as violinists together in an orchestra overseen by conductor Sonderby.
A needy couple in a bad marriage travel back to Stockholm after a trip to Italy. Meanwhile, a widow resists seductions from two different persons - her psychiatrist and a lesbian friend.
Marine Bo Fredriksson is travelling home on a leave. He reminisce about an accident he caused as a 12-year old which killed a young girl, an event that has made him feel revulsion for death. Back home he meets Eva, a girl he fancies and they move together to Stockholm to start a life together.
Martin is married to Frida and together they have a son. One day after a quarrel with his wife, he goes to buy flowers to ask for forgiveness. In the flower shop he meets the beautiful Rut and falls instantly in love. They both start a passionate love affair but beneath the beautiful surface hides a completely different woman than he expected ...
Jan-Erik Widgren meets the lonely Bertha Olsson, a woman struggling with alcoholism. Though Bertha is already linked to Caligula, Jan-Erik's heartless teacher, she begins a relationship with the boy anyway. When Caligula learns that Jan-Erik is having an affair with Bertha, he begins to torture his student psychologically. He reserves his cruelest behavior for Bertha, however, which results in a tragic turn of events.