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Entries in Liv Ullmann (7)


Who should receive an Honorary Oscar?

Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow in "Shame"Pete Hammond at Deadline revealed this morning that with all the dates moving earlier next Oscar season, the Academy is actually choosing the next Honorary Oscar winners THIS WEEKEND. It's too late then for an FYC but we feel the need to do one anyway. In the past we've made great suggestions like Albert Finney, Doris Day, Neil Simon, Michael Ballhaus, and Marni Nixon but they let all those people die without honoring them which is such bad form. At least they heard us on Maureen O'Hara, Harry Belafonte, and Angela Lansbury!

I have a suspicion that Caleb Deschanel, obviously a well-loved cinematographer given that surprise sixth nomination for the German film Never Look Away last season, will be named this year. He's 74 years old. For some reason I don't think they'll go with Glenn Close quite yet though she's a common prediction. She's 72 but working a lot right now and still in her prime.



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1972: The Emigrants

Editor's Note: We will now resume our intermittent investigation into 1972 films for the impending smackdown -- though it will not be this weekend due to unfortunate delays. Here's Eric Blume on the Oscar favored foreign epic The Emigrants, available to rent on Amazon or iTunes.

It’s fun (and by fun, I mean zero actual fun) to watch Jan Troell’s 3 hour and 20 minute epic film The Emigrants and try to figure out how this slow-burn, where nothing good happens to any of the characters for the entire running time, made it into the Oscar race, not in one year but in two!  Due to different rules than we have currently, The Emigrants was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 1971, and then for the 1972 Oscars was nominated for a whopping four of the big eight categories:  Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Liv Ullman), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Emigrants mostly follows a peasant family in rural Sweden in the mid-19th century. Despite back-breaking work, the father (Max von Sydow) and mother (Liv Ullman), realize that they cannot survive on their farm.  A series of horrible events befall them before they decide to leave for a 10-week boat journey to America in hope of a better life. Another family, who leave for the promise of religious freedom, joins them for the grueling ordeal...

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Bergman Centennial: In "Shame" Love is a Battlefield

Any passing visitor who’s toiled amongst the weeds of Ingmar Bergman’s vast garden of emotional entanglements will surely recognize the same familiar seeds of chaos, conflict, and spiritual carnage sown between the damned pistel and stamen of whichever variety of lovers feature into a particular film – but in Shame (1968), his scabbed and battered masterwork of wartime wreckage, the Swedish auteur lays fire to the roses. Incendiary combat between dueling psyches in intimate locations fuels much of his filmography – the mother-daughter melee of Autumn Sonata and frosty schoolhouse rejection in Winter Light immediately jump to mind – but Shame ignites a maximalist fuse within its scope that quite literally drops a bomb on the long-suffering couple at the broken heart of its story. By contrasting the domestic drama of Eva and Jan Rosenberg’s (Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow) decomposing marriage against a backdrop of military destruction and societal decay, Bergman turns the canvas of the soul inside out and externalizes the conflict of a toxic relationship into the very warzone that is exacerbating its decline.

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Bergman Centennial: Persona and the Problem of "Motherliness"

Team Experience will be celebrating one of the world's most acclaimed auteurs this week for the 100th anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's birth. Here's Lynn Lee

Persona has been called the Mount Everest of film critics, and no wonder.  For a film that clocks in at a lean 84 minutes and turns on a deceptively simple premise – a celebrated actress (Liv Ullmann) falls mysteriously silent and is consigned to the care of a chatty, insecure nurse (Bibi Andersson) – it contains multitudes.  In the 50-plus years since its debut, its potential meanings have been explored from almost every conceivable angle, be it existential, metaphysical, psychological, psychosexual, queer, feminist, the role of art and the artist, or just the film’s pure cinematic texture and experimental devices.  But Persona is a slippery beast: just when you think you have a theory as to what it’s “about,” it melts and reformulates into something else entirely.

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Autumn Sonata: Ingrid's Swan Song 

Happy Ingrid Bergman Centennial! The great movie star was born 100 years ago on this very day in Stockholm, Sweden. Jose closes out our 10 film retrospective with a look at her final feature film - Editor

Jose here. True story: there was a time when I thought Ingrid Bergman and Ingmar Bergman were the same person. Not because I had seen Persona and dreamt of metaphysical unions between both great Swedes, but merely because I was a child.

I first laid eyes on Ingrid on the box of my grandma’s tape of Casablanca, when I was 6, and there was something about those eyes filled with longing and sorrow that one day drew me to insert the tape into the player. Bewitched by the earthy qualities and the warmth she exuded, I devoured as many of her films as I could get my hands on, until one day I heard someone talk of Ingmar. Convinced that it was merely a mispronounced version of Ingrid’s name I remained oblivious until the day I saw The Seventh Seal at age 12. The more I learned of Ingmar’s work in the following years, the less I thought there would be room for Ingrid in his world of damaged, oft cold human beings.

Then I watched Autumn Sonata and not only did she make sense in Ingmar’s universe, it seemed to be the place she was born to be in. Playing world famous pianist Charlotte Andergast, the director allowed her beautiful features to reflect a severity she had merely suggested in earlier roles during her career, as if she chose not to be breathtaking. The film has Liv Ullmann play Charlotte’s daughter Eva, who resents her mother for not having been around much when she was a child. To say that their exchanges are unkind would be an understatement, when every word seems like a dagger aimed for the ultimate kill.

Cinema's Legendary Bergmans. No relation.

Ingmar’s kind of existentialism often drew from his own life, but in Autumn Sonata he seems to have made a film all about Ingrid. For starters, the very notion of a mother abandoning her children was something that allegedly tormented Ingrid who left her own child in America to pursue a relationship with director Roberto Rossellini in the 1950s, in traditional Bergman fashion though, Charlotte isn’t entirely filled with regret though, and she seems pleased with having Eva’s contempt, rather than having spent her life pretending she wanted to be with her children. It’s a bold performance that breaks from the nurturing qualities Ingrid had shown all throughout her career.

Charlotte turned out to be the Oscar winner’s big screen swan song, she would then go into semi-retirement only to act in a Golda Meir biopic that would win her an Emmy and a Golden Globe, but her work in Autumn Sonata makes for a beautiful bookend when juxtaposed with her first big role in Intermezzo. In fact, we could propose a theory that Charlotte is another version of Intermezzo’s Anita Hoffman, in fact she could even be the same woman, a professional musician who realizes her art is more important than anything else in the world, after being subjected to endless heartbreak at the hand of the man she loves. It’s a thing of beauty to realize that she had been showing us shades of Charlotte more than 40 years before. Could it be that Ingmar had seen Intermezzo as a young man and dreamed this part for his leading lady before he began his own career? Even though Ingrid and Ingmar weren't the same person after all, they were meant to do transcendental art together all along.

previouslyIntermezzo (1939), Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1942), Notorious, (1946), Joan of Arc (1948), Journey to Italy (1954), Indiscreet (1958), The Inn of Sixth Happiness (1958), Cactus Flower (1969) and 10 Best Ingrid Bergman Kisses (1935 through 1970)


So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Liv Ullmann

abstew here. With her second nomination for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that received both their Best Actress nominations for foreign language performances. The first actress to achieve it was Sophia Loren who we discussed over the weekend. Today we look back at the Norwegian muse of the master Ingmar Bergman...

Liv Ullmann
after the jump 

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