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"Liv & Ingmar": Who'd Have Thought Ingmar Had a Romantic Side? 

Wednesday, Jan 8 2014

You wouldn't expect the director of Persona or Cries and Whispers to be the kind of guy who draws hearts along the margins of love letters, but that's one of the humanizing revelations about the late Ingmar Bergman in Dheeraj Akolkar's engrossing documentary Liv & Ingmar. Still sharp in her late 70s, Liv Ullman tells of how the 47-year-old Ingmar and the 25-year-old Liv fell in love in 1965, the half-decade that the jealous Bergman functionally kept her prisoner (the older, wiser Ullman admitting that she fought to maintain their relationship for a year longer than she should have, not knowing how or when to let go), and, finally, the post-breakup friendship that resulted in their best work. Clips from the several movies and television shows they made are remixed to illustrate the highs and (mostly lows) of their relationship, usually with Max Von Sydow as Bergman's cinematic avatar, as well as the aforementioned letters and other bits of Bergman ephemera, including his teddy bear(!). It's also fascinating to see his beloved Fårö Island, so iconic in the black and white of his 1960s films, shot today in full digital color — though the darker, stormier island is more evocative of the fascinating love story that is Liv & Ingmar.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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