Bergman: Everyone went on saying I was an idiot until, ruthlessly, step by step, I had taught myself everything to do with my profession. No one can rap me over the knuckles in technical matters today. And this means that nowadays I can behave much more like an orchestral conductor, imagine a conductor who doesn’t know how to play the various instruments, who can’t show his musicians what they’ve got to do at various places, where the fellow who’s playing the bassoon is to breathe, whether a note should be an up-stroke or a down-stroke, whether the timpanist is to use his arms or his wrists. A conductor who says to his musicians, “Remember, this is a microcosm reflected in a macrocosm, ” or something of that sort, is finished. But if he says, “Breathe here. squeeze your lips together like this. Take an upstroke here. Stress this bit of syncopation, ” then they know what it’s all about. It’s precisely the same with actors and technicians. In the first place, always give them purely technical instructions.
Torsten Manns: Learn their language?
“To me, I have to say this from the beginning, the close-up, the correctly illuminated, directed and acted close-up of an actor is and remains the height of cinematography. There is nothing better. That incredibly strange and mysterious contact you can suddenly experience with another soul through an actor’s gaze. A sudden thought, blood that drains away or blood that pumps into the face, the trembling nostrils, the suddenly shiny complexion or mute silence, that is to me some of the most incredible and fascinating moments you will ever experience.” (1964)
“I would like once in my life to make a 120-minute picture with just one close-up. I think it’s impossible, but I would love to do it once. To have the right actor and to have the talent to accomplish this. It would be the most fascinating experience of all, just to look with the camera. I am a voyeur. To look at somebody, to find out how the skin changes, the eyes, how all those muscles change the whole time—the lips—to me it’s always a drama.” (1980)
— Ingmar Bergman
"When I first met Bergman I was 16 or 17, and he was five years older. We were boys who wanted to make theatre, and we put on The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I remember it very well. Everything was there already. He was much more hysterical then—shouting, screaming, threatening, sometimes mean, which he still can sometimes be. But the fantasy, the imagination, the fantastic talent for getting close to a text—all of that was already there. In his first films you can see that he is not experienced, but in theatre he was already perfect."
"I was mainly a stage actor. I found film acting mechanical, because it was so technical—there was so much technique with the lamps and the movements of the camera. But suddenly one day, when we made Cries and Whispers—the cinematographer was Sven Nykvist, as usual—I can remember the moment when I suddenly felt that the camera was a living partner. I suddenly felt this is art, and the camera is a cooperative living person. After that I was extremely happy to act in films! "
June 15, 1923 — February 25, 2012
“In Bergman’s world I represented a sort of intellectual, skeptical, ironic person, rather cold and frustrated. When I went abroad and made films in Italy and other places, I was used in different ways. I was rather often cast as crazy people, maniacs. It was very good for me and it was fun because it is nice to play crazy people if you are not in reality, and I think perhaps that changed how Ingmar saw me. Suddenly I was on the more magical side of his world, playing the people with fantasies, variety, the artists.”
— Erland Josephson (June 15, 1923 –- February 25, 2012)