Streaming: The Magician

(Ansiktet/The Face)

Available March 12–May 10, 2020
Recorded lecture: Linda H. Rugg


Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bibi Andersson,

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Recorded Lecture
Linda H. Rugg on “Max von Sydow’s Biography and Career with Ingmar Bergman”
Available March 12–May 10

Watch a recording of a lecture given by UC Berkeley Professor Linda H. Rugg. Access is included with rental of the streaming film program.

A carriage bumps along a wooded path. Inside is a magician, Vogler (Max von Sydow), and his entourage, including his young assistant who in his better moments is a she, the magician’s wife (Ingrid Thulin); and an ancient auntie who has a sideline in love potions and, we suspect, eye of newt. They are a down-at-the-heels lot, curious about the devil out in the woods and about death, which joins them in their carriage. They are headed for a politically fraught performance, for the mute Vogler is mocked, even as he is sought, for his “animal magnetism.” And no one does animal magnetism better than von Sydow. We see hints of Persona (silence as the last refuge of the artist), Fanny and Alexander (family theatrics as its own refuge), and Scenes from a Marriage (in fact, two). But with its fairytale landscape, Expressionist sets, and old-dark-lab sci-fi, The Magician asks to be taken on its own terms. Max the mesmerist and Bergman the magician, each with his “apparatus,” effect the willing suspension of belief.

Judy Bloch
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Gunnar Fischer
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • Digital streaming
  • 100 mins
  • Janus Films