SCANDINAVIAN 115: The Films of Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007)

TuTh 9:30-11am , Osher Theater, Pacific Film Archive. Instructor: Linda H. Rugg

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Arts & Literature
Cross-listed with Film 151, Section 001
Lab: Wed 3-6pm, Pacific Film Archive, Barbro Osher Theater

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of premier Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s birth, and retrospectives and celebrations are taking place all over the world. UC Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive is participating in this landmark occasion with a number of special events throughout 2018, culminating in this course on Bergman’s films, to be screened at the Pacific Film Archive’s Barbro Osher Theater. Members of the public will be invited to the screenings alongside the students, but lectures and discussions will be limited to students and held on campus.

Given the focus on the birth of the filmmaker and his life’s work, one has to raise the question of film authorship and its relation to a director and a director’s life. What is a “Bergman film”? Can films be authored in the same way as books? This course will examine Bergman’s work of Sweden’s premier filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman, the phenomenon of his success in the U.S. and worldwide, his contribution to the notions of auteurism and art cinema, his role within Swedish culture, and the problems he poses by linking film and autobiography.

We will read theoretical articles on such topics as the auteur movement, feminism in Bergman’s work, and self-reflexivity and narrative in films, as well as Bergman’s autobiographical and fictional writing, and essays on Bergman’s work by Bergman and others. The class will view a sampling of Bergman’s films from various periods, using close reading techniques to assess the nature of “Bergman films.”

Films to be screened and discussed include: Summer Interlude, Smiles of a Summer Night, Sawdust and Tinsel, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, The Magician, The Silence, Persona, Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander, and others.


Texts: primarily essays and articles, some excerpts from Bergman’s writing, available on-line.


Prerequisites: No formal course prerequisites. Students should be prepared to engage with film theory and to write at an advanced level.