Behind Saraband (2003) [feature]

Sweden (MIFF 2005 , International Panorama)
Director: Torbjoern Ehrnvall

"Four actors, 10 dialogues. It looks easy on paper but let me tell you I will be extremely rigorous." Thus begins Torbjorn Ehrnvall's window onto the back lot of Saraband, which Bergman claims will be his final cinematic opus. He is indeed rigorous, distractingly fastidious in his perfectionism: from wardrobe and props to action and dialogue. But Ehrnvall's captivating documentary also reveals a complex spirit with an intimate relationship to his work and actors, and who weaves life's lessons into what is essentially an autobiographical narrative. Bergman's self-imposed exile on the isolated Faro has done nothing to harden his humanity and wit, and his 84 years have done nothing to slow his mind and body, nor cloud his vision, such as for the exquisite Julia Dufvenius, who plays Karin. Bergman asks everything of his actors, but never if not for fun. Made for Swedish television, like Saraband itself, the documentary reveals a highly idiosyncratic cineaste. In something like a capricious act of revenge, Bergman snubbed the film industry when he refused invitations to screen Saraband at some pre-eminent film festivals. As he says, the editing was time-consuming and difficult! --- D Torbjorn Ehrnvall P Pia Ehrnvall WS SVTR Sales, Sveriges Television L Swedish w/English subtitles TD video/2003/45mins. Torbjorn Ehrnvall was born in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1939. His films include T. Sventon och Fallet Isabella.

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