The most recent interview on this bonus disc was conducted in 2001 in Goteborg - a fascinating Q&A session between then 84-year old Bergman, and filmmaker Gunnar Bergdahl. Most of the discussions weave through emotional reflections on August Strindberg (the director's most beloved writer), life on the island of Faro, and reflections on recent movies. It's not the content that's the draw, however, but Bergman's comportment here: highly reflective on his career and weighing deep thoughts, he's nevertheless quick-witted with his replies, yet shows a degree of hesitation when asked about his new screenplay.
A classic artist's fear - proving to himself and colleagues that the work's still good - the entire Q&A is a touching window into a man who's shaped his own auteur persona via oft-repeated anecdotes, much like Alfred Hitchcock's embellished tales of personal and creative development.
As a marked contrast to this reserved Bergman, the disc archives a series of interview clips taken from the 1970 CBC-TV show "Man Alive." Then in his 50s, the director was already contemplating an eventual retirement after a prolific output within a 27-year career. Like the archived still galleries for each of the films in MGM's Bergman collection, chunks of the interview are repeated, but there's some extended passages, and a few new statements concerning Bergman's life, art, and religion.
Of greater interest is a archived American Cinematographer [AC] issue, from 1972. The 6-part "Filmmaking In Sweden" spread is notable for covering the country's new Film House "atelier," and published career reflections by Bergman and his longtime cinematographer, Sven Nykvist (both written shortly after the 1971 completion of "The Touch," starring Elliot Gould). The AC issue also offer some snapshots of ongoing productions in Sweden, and recent technological advancements are given the kind of exacting detail typical of the magazine.
For the featurette, "Faro Island Mystique," the bonus disc assembles additional material from historian Mark Gervais, and actors Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson, and Bibi Andersson (who says of the isle, "It's the only place I know where earth and sky go together so completely"). An otherworldly place that borders on serene yet physically harsh, Faro was also given a tribute by photographer Aldo Garzia in his 1998 tribute book, "Faro: Ingmar Bergman's Cinecitta." Garzia's gorgeous colour stills, used in the featurette, also appear in a separate gallery, which offers a fascinating contrast to the more bleak visuals in Bergman's films.
The last featurette, "With an Eye he Cries," covers Bergman's ultimate collaborator, Sven Nykvist, and though the cinematographer doesn't appear in any filmed interviews, anecdotes by his aforementioned colleagues and historian Gervais give a good impression of this soft-spoken artisan who is responsible for some of the most remarkable images in film.
This bonus MGM/UA title is only available as part of the Ingmar Bergman Collection that includes the films "The Serpent's Egg", "Persona", "Shame", "The Passion Of Anna", and "Hour Of The Wolf."
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan