Respects poured in from world cinematic headliners today for Ingmar Bergman who died at his Swedish home at age 89. Here’s a brief round-up from news reports:
Max Von Sydow (who appeared in 11 Bergman films) spoke of his “infinite gratitude” not only for the professional opportunities but also “the immense privilege to have been his friend.” As an actor, he said, “no one counted as much for me as Ingmar Bergman.”
Bibi Andersson, who made 13 movies with Bergman,: “It’s very sad, but he was an old man, so we were prepared that he would die. I knew him well and will miss him very much.”
Michael Apted, head of the Directors Guild of America: “Bergman was the epitome of a director’s director — creating beautiful, complex and smart films that imprinted permanently into the psyche.” The DGA gave Bergman its highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.
Woody Allen bid him farewell with a final joke. “I was very saddened by the death of Ingmar Bergman. He was a friend and certainly the greatest film artist of my lifetime. He told me that he was afraid that he would die on a very, very sunny day. and I can only hope it was overcast and he got the weather he wanted.”
Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes Film Festival, said “modern cinema has lost one of its last pioneers, a pioneer of genius.”
Sir Richard Attenborough: “The world has lost one of its very greatest filmmakers. He taught us all so much throughout his life.”
Bille August, the Danish director: “He was one of the world’s biggest personalities. There were Kurosawa, Fellini and then Bergman. Now he is also gone. It is a great loss. I am in shock.”
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Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, which administers the directors’ archives: “Ingmar Bergman’s passing away represents a loss of unfathomable magnitude. His artistic accomplishments were ground-breaking, unique — but also of a scope that covered film and theatre as well as literature. He was the internationally most renowned Swede, and just a few months ago his artistic achievement was incorporated into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. We remember him as a very bold person, always present, often biting in his comments. But he was often one step ahead of his contemporaries. Even when he grew old surprises from Fårö were not unexpected. I believe it will take some time before we fully understand that he is no longer with us, but also the importance of his art to other people. The steady stream of letters arriving here at the Ingmar Bergman Foundation since its inception testifies to that.”
Jorn Donner, producer of Fanny and Alexander, Bergman’s last work for the big screen which won four Oscars: “He was one of the great ones.”
Cissi Elwin, chief executive of the Swedish Film Institute, said Bergman, in a wheelchair and seeming very tired, had appeared briefly this month at an annual celebration of his career on Faro Island. “It’s a very big loss today. It’s very, very strange and very unreal because Ingmar Bergman is so much Swedish film.”
Andrzej Wajda, the Oscar-winning Polish director, said it was Bergman’s “absolute isolation” that impressed him: “He created great art, and for us — movie directors — he gave hope, a belief, that if we wanted to say something about ourselves, the world would notice.”
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