• The Passion of Anna

Ticket Package—Max von Sydow: The Best Stradivarius

Available April 27–May 10

BAMPFA from Home

Watch this streaming package on your TV, computer, or mobile device through our streaming partner, Eventive. This rental package includes the entire six-film series and accompanying four recorded conversations; each film is also available separately.

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This special discounted package features access to all six films and four recorded conversations in the Max von Sydow: The Best Stradivarius film series. The titles include The Magician (with Linda H. Rugg), The Emigrants (with Jan Troell, Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell, and Yohanna Troell), Pelle the Conqueror (with Katinka Faragó), The Passion of Anna (with Liv Ullmann), Hour of the Wolf, and The Seventh Seal.

It is an honor for us to welcome our guest presenters Liv Ullmann, Jan Troell, Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell, Yohanna Troell, and Katinka Faragó virtually and hear their reflections on von Sydow’s singular career. As a prelude to these conversations, UC Berkeley professor Linda H. Rugg will set the stage for this tribute by addressing von Sydow’s biography and work with Ingmar Bergman.

Films in this Screening

The Magician
(Ansiktet/The Face)

Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1958

FEATURING
Max von Sydow
Ingrid Thulin
Gunnar Björnstrand
Bibi Andersson

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

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Ingmar Bergman
Cinematographer
  • Gunnar Fischer
Language
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • Digital streaming
  • 100 mins
source
  • Janus Films

The Emigrants

Jan Troell, Sweden, 1971

FEATURING
Liv Ullmann
Max von Sydow
Eddie Axberg
Sven-Olof Bern

The first of Jan Troell’s two films adapted from epic novels by Vilhelm Moberg stars Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow as struggling Swedish farmers in the 1840s who decide to emigrate to America. The Emigrants received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Actress, Director, and Adapted Screenplay—rare honors for a foreign film. Ullmann, often identified with Bergman’s films, has said Kristina is her favorite role. Among the many distinctive qualities of Troell’s cinema is the fact that he is the cinematographer of his own films and enjoys the freedom that comes with the dual role of director-cinematographer.

Richard Peterson

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Jan Troell
  • Bengt Forslund
Based On
  • the novel by Vilhelm Moberg

Cinematographer
  • Jan Troell
Language
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital streaming
  • 191 mins
source
  • Swank Motion Pictures

Pelle the Conqueror
(Pelle erobreren)

Bille August, Denmark, Sweden, 1987

FEATURING
Max von Sydow
Pelle Hvenegaard
Erik Paaske
Bjørn Granath

With its strong performances and striking location cinematography, Pelle the Conqueror earned Bille August international acclaim as a director. Max von Sydow was nominated for an Academy Award for his immensely moving performance as Lasse Karlsson, an aging farmhand and widower who emigrates from poverty-stricken Sweden to the Danish island of Bornholm with his young son Pelle (Pelle Hvenegaard) in search of a better life. Adapted from volume one, Boyhood, of the four-part novel Pelle Erobreren by the Danish proletarian writer Martin Andersen Nexø, this nineteenth-century epic deals with class inequities in rural society, where Lasse and Pelle live under impoverished conditions yet hold out some hope for the future. Story has it that Ingmar Bergman watched the film seven times before inviting August to direct The Best Intentions (written by Bergman).

Susan Oxtoby

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Bille August
  • Per Olov Enquist
  • Bjarne Reuter
  • Max Lundgren
Based On
  • the novel Pelle Erobreren by Martin Andersen Nexø

Cinematographer
  • Jörgen Persson
Language
  • Scanian
  • Danish
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital streaming
  • 157 mins
source
  • Film Movement

The Passion of Anna
(En passion)

Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1970

FEATURING
Max von Sydow
Erland Josephson
Liv Ullmann
Bibi Andersson

Bergman’s second color film is one of his most economical—spare, straightforward, but in no sense lightweight. Four people have escaped to a remote island off the Swedish mainland but find that they cannot flee the injustice, violence, and guilt of modern life. An intricate four-way relationship among Max von Sydow, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, and Liv Ullmann is played out against a mysterious situation in which an anonymous sadist is killing animals on the island. Bergman interrupts the narrative with two unusual devices that only serve to increase the profundity—and believability—of the film: each character is given a lengthy passage in which to reveal the most important incident in his or her life, and each actor has a moment in which to comment on the role being played.

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Ingmar Bergman
Cinematographer
  • Sven Nykvist
Language
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • Digital streaming
  • 101 mins
source
  • Janus Films

Hour of the Wolf
(Vargtimmen)

Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1968

FEATURING
Max von Sydow
Liv Ullmann
Erland Josephson
Gertrud Fridh

Hour of the Wolf intertwines supernatural mysteries with the no less mysterious torments of creativity. Alma (Liv Ullmann) tells of her life on a remote island with her artist husband (Max von Sydow), who has disappeared, leaving only his diary. The strange occurrences she relates invoke the waking nightmares of gothic horror, yet in creating this eerie tale, Bergman drew on his own experiences of isolation on the island of Fårö: “The demons would come to me and wake me up, and they would stand there and talk to me,” he said.

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Ingmar Bergman
Cinematographer
  • Sven Nykvist
Language
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • Digital streaming
  • 90 mins
source
  • Janus Films

The Seventh Seal
(Det sjunde inseglet)

Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1957

FEATURING
Max von Sydow
Gunnar Björnstrand
Bengt Ekerot
Nils Poppe

It may be folly to think that life and thus death could hold any secrets. With The Seventh Seal Bergman spoke to this modern query in a medieval setting rendered at once awesome and intimate in chiaroscuro. A knight, Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), and his squire Jöns return disillusioned from the Crusades to the hysteria of plague-infested fourteenth-century Sweden. On the shore Block encounters Death and challenges him to a game of chess, playing for time to perform one significant act in life. What is timeless about this existential passion play is the humanity of its characters, who seem to shun allegory like a kind of narrative death: Block, whom the Crusades took away from the real—the only proof of God—to the torment of the abstract; Jöns, cynical sensualist who articulates the void; Death himself, a picture of inconclusiveness; and the dreamer Jof and his wife, actors traveling into light.

Judy Bloch

FILM DETAILS 
Screenwriter
  • Ingmar Bergman
Based On
  • the play Trämålning (Wood Painting) by Ingmar Bergman

Cinematographer
  • Gunnar Fischer
Language
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • Digital streaming
  • 96 mins
source
  • Janus Films