Ingmar Bergman's 'Face to Face'

Project: Research

Research areas and keywords


Layman's description

Both as a four-part series on Swedish television and as a three-hour feature film distributed by Paramount in the US, 'Face to Face' was a critical and Commercial success. My fortcoming book from Columbia University Press will discuss this production in the context of its time and as a part of the Bergman oeuvre.

Save for Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman is the director most thoroughly mapped by the academia as well as by critics. But the research has been marked by blind spots. Some films have been canonized as masterpieces – The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona etc. – while others have been considered of little or no interest: It Rains on Our Love, Dreams, The Touch and others. Perhaps the most striking title in what we can call the Bergman Apocrypha is Face to Face, which premiered in April–May 1976 in Sweden as a four-part TV series (total length: 181 minutes) and in a more than one hour shorter film version (114 minutes) at the cinemas in the United States on April 5 the same year. Then nominated for Best Actress (Liv Ullmann) and Best Director at the 1977 Academy Awards. Now dismissed as a minor work. Paramounts’s rather shoddy 2011 DVD release accompanied by zero marketing is a telling sign of the production’s low status.
Face to Face followed the successful TV-series Scenes from a Marriage (1973), and again features Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson in the leading roles. Bergman’s work on the project began during the editing of his TV production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in 1974. In his engagement planner he notes what books he reads, films he watches and sometimes also scribbles down thoughts that comes into his head. At the time of completing The Magic Flute, the planner reveals that he read American psychotherapist Arthur Janov’s bestseller The Primal Scream.
Effective start/end date2014/01/012017/03/31