This book on Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman contains eighteen new scholarly chapters on the director’s work, mainly in the cinema. Most of the contributors—some Swedish, others American or British—have written extensively on Bergman before, some for decades. Bergman is one of the most written-about artists in film history and his fame still lingers all over the world, as was seen in the celebrations of his centenary in 2018. The book was specifically conceived at that time with the aim of presenting fresh angles on his work, although several chapters also focus on traditional aspects of Bergman’s art, such as philosophy and psychology. Ingmar Bergman: An Enduring Legacy thus addresses a number of essential topics which have not featured in Bergman studies before, such as the director’s relations with Hollywood and transnational film production. It also deals at length with Bergman’s highly sophisticated use of film music and with his prominence as a writer of autobiographical literature, as well as with the intermedial relations to his films that this perspective inevitably entails. Finally, the book addresses Bergman’s complex relations to Swedish politics. Many different approaches and methods are employed in the book in order to show that Bergman remains a relevant and important artist. The analyses generally focus on some of his most memorable films, like Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander; but some rarer material, including Hour of the Wolf, The Lie, and Autumn Sonata, is discussed as well.
Merry Widow . 9 The music is rich and eclectic, drawn from the classical music canon, sacred music, and newly composed music by Erik Nordgren. 10 This chapter examines comedic moments in Smiles of a Summer Night and the soundscapes in which they are embedded. I explore how music intersects with three different theories on humour. First is the ‘superiority theory’, which accounts for humour that exists at the ‘expense of characters who are particularly stupid, vain, greedy, cruel, ruthless, dirty, and
hitherto uncharted layers of meaning to some Bergman classics. Alexis Luko, author of one of the first monographs entirely devoted to Bergman’s use of sound and music, close-reads Bergman’s highly imaginative use of music in his comedy Smiles of a Summer Night (1955). Luko’s point of departure involves exploring theories of humour, since Bergman creates comedic moments with the aid of Erik Nordgren’s original score and little classical melodies (by Schumann, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, and a traditional
turned to Swedish art composers of the time: Erland von Koch and Erik Nordgren (as mentioned earlier) and, later on, Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Dag Wirén, and Lars-Johan Werle. Erland von Koch composed music for Bergman’s first six films; he was succeeded by Erik Nordgren, who wrote music for as many as twelve of Bergman’s films and was involved in two more. Even in Bergman’s early films, however, the music was not subordinated in the way we usually associate with the phrase underscoring , or classic narrative film music
music to influence the soundtrack. In The Seventh Seal (1957), Erik Nordgren weaves fragments of the ‘Dies Irae’ into his orchestral underscore. In To Joy (1950), Bergman takes the opposite approach, relying solely on classical music for the soundtrack, with no original cues by film composers. While these excerpts of Beethoven, Smetana, Mendelssohn, and Mozart are largely diegetic, performed by specific characters, the pre-existing music still fulfils the function of conventional film scoring