Review: ‘Liv & Ingmar’

Liv Ullmann reflects on her relationship with Ingmar Bergman in this personal but not particularly revelatory docu from U.K.-based helmer Dheeraj Akolkar.

Liv Ullmann reflects on her relationship with Ingmar Bergman in this personal but not particularly revelatory docu from U.K.-based helmer Dheeraj Akolkar. Made with the visual sensibilities and musical cues of a cable special, the pic mixes Ullmann’s candid reminiscences and v.o. narration of extracts from her book “Changing” with clips from Bergman’s films, passages from his love letters (ostentatiously voiced by Samuel Froler), and archival photos and footage. Smallscreen buyers should be tempted.

Ullmann, then a shy 25, met Bergman, then 46, on the set of his 1965 film “Persona.” Although both were married to others at the time, their attraction was powerful and immediate; in his letters, Bergman called them “painfully connected.” Ullmann left her husband and went to live on Faro Island with Bergman, later bearing him a daughter. Their fraught affair ended five years later, but their collaboration (she acted in 12 of his films and directed two of his screenplays) and friendship continued until the end of his life. Helmer Akolkar uses extended extracts from the films they made together to illustrate how they reflect the couples’ personal issues.

Liv & Ingmar

Norway-U.K.-India

Production

A NordicStories presentation in association with Svensk Filmindustri, SVT of a Vardo Films production. (International sales: Svensk Filmindustri, Stockholm.) Produced by Rune H. Trondsen. Directed, written by Dheeraj Akolkar.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DV), Hallvard Braein; editor, Tushar Ghogale; music, Stefan Nilsson. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 17, 2012. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Liv Ullmann. (English dialogue)

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