"We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster’s whim and the purest ideal."
"I am hopelessly in love with this man. Completely. Because, I don’t know why, I have met him a few times and… I love his work and I love him as a person, if he is a person, which I doubt, because he has no limits; he’s just like quicksilver—all over the place. I have never seen anybody like that before. He is enormously intuitive. He is intuitive; he is creative; he is an enormous force. He is burning inside with such heat. Collapsing. Do you understand what I mean? The heat from his creative mind, it melts him. He suffers from it; he suffers physically from it. One day when he can manage this heat and can set it free, I think he will make pictures you have never seen in your life." — Ingmar Bergman
"He had individual style. There are things you cannot take a course in. You are born with it. He was a first-class clown, with a unique, great concept. In life, when you were with Fellini, you always knew you weren’t with anyone else. He was in his own orbit. When someone like Fellini dies, there is no way to pass on a formula, because there is no formula. What he did came out of the person, out of him. People will study and analyze and copy, and maybe someone will achieve to the point it is said of him, ‘His film is like Fellini.’ But it can only be like Fellini. When you can’t pass it on, it’s the real stuff.” — Billy Wilder
"I once had a dream, or a vision, and I imagined that dream to be of importance to other people, so I wrote the manuscript and made the film. But it is not until the moment when my dream meets with your emotions and your minds that my shadows come to life. It is your recognition that brings them to life. It is your indifference that kills them. I hope that you will understand; that you when you leave the cinema will take with you an experience or a sudden thought—or maybe a question. The efforts of my friends and myself have then not been in vain…" — Ingmar Bergman
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
"I never considered myself anything more than as a craftsman, a hell of a skilled craftsman, if I may so myself, but nothing more. I create things that are meant to be useful, films or theatrical productions. I’ve never felt the need for … what’s the word? … sub specie aeternitatis. I have never created for the sake of eternity. I was only interested in producing the good work of a fine craftsman. Yes, I am proud to call myself a craftsman who makes chairs and tables that are useful to people."
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"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