My Three Powerfully Effective Commandments by Ingmar Bergman (Summer 1970 Issue)


“Experience should be gained before one reaches forty, so a wise man has said. After forty it is permissible for one to comment. I venture to say that the reverse might apply in my case. No one under forty was more certain of his theories and no one more willing to elucidate them than I was. No one knew better or could visualize more. But now that I am somewhat older I have become rather more cautious. The experience that I have gained, and which I am still sorting out, is of such a kind that I am unwilling to express myself on the art of the filmmaker. I know for a fact that my work involves technical skill and mental ability, but I know, too, that even my greatest experience will be uninteresting to others, except perhaps to the potential filmmaker. Moreover, it is my opinion that an artist’s work is the only real contribution that he can make to a critical discussion of art. Thus I find it rather unseemly to get involved in such discussion, even with explanations or excuses. No, the fact that the artist remained unknown was a good thing in former times. His relative anonymity was a guarantee against irrelevant outside influences, material considerations and the prostitution of his talents. He brought forth his work in spirit and truth as he saw it, and he left the judgment to the Lord. Thus he lived and died without being more or less important than any other artisan. Eternal values, immortality and masterpieces were terms not applicable in his case. His work was to the glory of God. The ability to create was a gift and an accomplishment. In such a world there flourished natural assurance and invulnerable humility—two qualities that are the finest hallmarks of art. But in life today the position of the artist has become more and more precarious; the artist has become a curious figure, a kind of performer or athlete who chases from job to job. His isolation, his now almost holy individualism, his artistic subjectivity, can all too easily cause ulcers and neurosis. Exclusiveness becomes a curse that he eulogizes. The unusual is both his pain and his satisfaction. It is possible that I have made a general rule from my own idiosyncrasies. But it is also possible that the conflict of responsibility has been intensified and the moral problems made so difficult because of dependence on popular support and also due to unreasonable economic burdens. Anyway, I now find that I need to clarify what I have been thinking, what my standards are and what constitutes my position. This will be a personal and not an authoritative pronouncement on film art, with some quite subjective notes on the technical and ethical problems of the filmmaker. …”
Film Comment
NY Times: A Filmmaker’s Hold on His Muse – Liv & Ingmar: Painfully Connected (Dec. 12, 2013)
New Republic: ‘Liv and Ingmar’: Great Filmmakers, Bad Lovers (Feb. 2014)
YouTube: Liv & Ingmar – A Love Story – OFFICIAL TRAILER – DOCUMENTARY
YouTube: Liv & Ingmar (2012) – Full Documentary 1:24:25


Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Scandinavian actress Liv Ullmann

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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