Unlike General Tso, Sugar Man, Israeli cuisine, or other things and people that documentaries have recently portrayed, Ingmar Bergman has never been difficult to find in nonfiction films. Margarethe von Trotta’s new Searching for Ingmar Bergman isn’t even the first Bergman documentary to be released this year — the 100th anniversary of his birth, because sure, let’s commemorate that — nor is it the first one in recent years to consider him from the point of view of one of the women in his life. Indeed, Searching continues the humanizing process from Dheeraj Akolkar’s 2014 Liv Ullman-focused Liv & Ingmar, perhaps because there’s only so many times that Persona or The Seventh Seal can be examined.
Said humanizing is more and more about acknowledging that Bergman wasn’t a great person, such as the fact that young Ingmar was a Nazi supporter until the concentration camps were discovered in 1945 — read: when his side lost — which Searching basically shrugs off because artists, right? The most relevant tidbit comes from Force Majeure director Ruben Östlund showing his favorite YouTube clip to von Trotta, and Östlund ruminating that the strongest images of the past 15 years have been found on that streaming service. Coming from an acclaimed modern director, the implications of that statement are worth seeking out.
Not rated. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.