From marital gossips to on-screen magnetism, a documentary about Ingrid Bergman praises an actor who consistently refused expectations

Nearly 20 decades ago, I went to stay with my husband in a house owned by the family of Roberto Rossellini, the great neorealist Italian film director. We invested our periods as you do when you find yourself in an idyllic hideout in the Italian sunshine: interpret; lying by the consortium; watching the light through the trees. And I thought about Ingrid Bergman, who must have visited this secluded villa at a time when her life was in free fall.

Its hard it is now time see the various kinds of gossip Bergman stimulated when she became pregnant with Rossellinis child, while still married to her first husband Petter Lindstrm. She wasnt just a bride, she was a mom, and had left her daughter Pia behind when she went off to Italy to work with Rossellini. The resentment was scalding. Bergman news jolts Hollywood like an A Bomb hollered one newspaper headline, neatly combining two of the most important news item of 1949.

In the US, religious groups began awareness-raising campaigns to proscription her cinemas on the grounds that they sanctified adultery. In Italy, she and Rossellini were followed everywhere by paparazzi, their attendants for the rest of their hectic life together.

I was a danger for American womanhood, she told an interviewer, years later. Even my voice over the radio was supposed to be dangerous. Of direction I was throbbed, but I didnt believing that what I had done was so much other folks business … If you dont like the implementation of its, you can walk out, but to criticise families private life, I thought was wrong.

That rebellious statement of intent is quoted in Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words , a new documentary film to be determined by Stig Bjrkman that tells the story of one of Hollywoods most enduring stars. It sucks on her diaries, words and interrogations, interspersed with residence movies, and peeks of the actor in all her screen greatnes, from her Swedish introduction in 1935 to her Hollywood heyday in the 1940 s to her final characters roughly 40 several years later. It is a disclosing insight into a woman who consistently withstood expectations.

Watch government officials trailer for Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words

In her first American screen experiment, in bleached-out colouring and silence, with no makeup as the clapper timber extols, she glints. It is as if she is in control of trade secrets and that knowledge crystallizes her from the inside, as she glances immediately at the camera, or smiles with a warmth that could thaw a Swedish winter. Its a signed of all that is to come. If “youre thinking about” Bergman on screen, in Casablanca , Notorious or Gaslight , it is that gleam that first comes to mind.

In part this was a simple matter of her beautiful. Daniel Selznick, son of the potent David O who first wiped Bergman away to Hollywood, told her biographer Charlotte Chandler: There is no one I have ever met, of any age, of any generation, that took ones breath away at every convene the path she did. The complexion, the cheeks, the neck, the ears, the nose, the eyes, their own bodies of a goddess. And she was just altogether unselfconscious. Gregory Peck, her co-star in Hitchocks Spellbound , suggested that she was even more beautiful away from the studio cameras a judgment vindicated by the home movie footage that demonstrates her tighten with family and friends.

But there is some other strange personnel at work. From the very first, she was confident in front of a camera, and it is Pia Lindstrm the daughter she vacated when she ran off with Rossellini who offers a psychological interpretation for her mothers fascinating impact on screen. Bergmans mom had died when she was two, so “shes been” brought up by her father-god, a photographer, whom she adored, until he more died when “shes been” 13.

Love would come right through that lens, indicates Lindstrm. She was looking through that lens and she is looking at her dear dead parent, and she would flirt and play with him and constitute with him. She was completely comfortable with the camera and knew how to pose.

Bergman herself was aware of her gift. She was a poverty-stricken little orphan daughter, lonely and bereft, hitherto filming attained her feel alive. Theres a photo of her going to her first ever job as an additional that is notable not only for her staggering loveliness, but for the sheer vigour of her pose as she peers along the line of waiting wannabe, appearing outwards and sends. I love the freedom of the media I feel in front of the camera, she said.

Photograph: Soda Pictures

But she was a dab hand behind a camera, extremely, inheriting from her parent a desire to record the world and the people around her. She filmed her honeymoon with Petter, and when she left him unexpectedly she wrote saying she didnt miss many of the treasures she had left behind. The only problem will be our 16 mm film. Maybe you will lend it to me so I can see what I looked like in my youth.

That desire to preserve each aspect of their own lives in photos and footage has left Bjrkman a affluence of substance on which to draw; in this private footage you receive her falling in love with Rossellini, stroking his head tenderly as they speak; you watch the three children they had together grown up; you ensure their fear as their parents marriage falls apart. Later, you watch the sadness cross Bergmans face as she climbs into an ambulance when her daughter Isabella is diagnosed with scoliosis.

But just as uncovering are the characters and diaries that Bergman also preserved, rich in self-knowledge and the honest struggle of the contradictions in her reference. Writing to a sidekick, when she is experiencing the first even of success in her Hollywood career, she describes her panic at not working for four months which is two months too long. She is at home with Petter and Pia, but acknowledges: Only half of me is alive. The other half is jam-pack away in a suitcase suffocating. What should I do?

She has an affair with Robert Capa, the crusade photographer, and her free spirit soars. She tries to be a good bride and to knit at home, but the siren call of something different propels her onwards. With Rossellini, it is his design she falls in love with firstly; she admires Rome, Open City and writes him a bold proposal. If “youve been” need a Swedish actor who speaks very good English and a bit German, that we are able to prepare herself understood in French and was simply say ti amo in Italian, then Ill come and make a film with you.

Years afterward she explains his appeal more fully. It was a combination of passion that I fell in love with a being who was so different from any other man I had ever known, and it was my apathy in Hollywood I wanted to do something that they didnt expect me to do. When her relationship with Rossellini broke down, and she began to think about returning to Hollywood, she was still determined to do the various kinds of films I feel comfortable with. Success mattered greatly to Bergman, but not at any price.

At the same time, as the cinema makes clear, though her children mattered to her deeply, she was prepared to leave them to seek her profession. Her priorities were not those expected. If you took acting away from me I would stop breathing, she said. She admitted she had missed a lot, by leaving not only one child but her second organize of children to be brought up principally by others. I do regret it, but I dont think they suffered, she said.

That complexity the authentic spokesperson of the status of women who knew her own fallibility, of someone who loved and lost but never grumbled prepares Bergman, who died of cancer, aged 67, in 1982, a peculiarly admirable Hollywood star. She was a pioneer before her age; safeguarded and constrained by her loveliness, she voyaged ever onwards, brave and strong.

There is a rose named after her, which I have in my garden. It is deep red, delicately smelled and virtually too perfect in shape and shape. It blooms for a very long time, loitering long after other blooms molted their petals. There has not been possible to be a better tribute to an actor who is always worth remembering.

Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is at the BFI Southbank, London SE1, from 12 August and then at selected cinemas. At the BFI, the movie will be accompanied by a mini season, Ingrid Bergman on Screen .


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