Monday, October 5, 2015

@NYFF53 Day 11: Delightful, Insightful, Personal, Professional Scrapbook Moments in ‘Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words’

Ingrid Bergman is a woman with one main passion in "Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words." Photos from Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words Facebook page.

INGRID Bergman. What do you know about the legendary actress if you are, say, under 60?

Are you aware that her parents died when she was young? Likely you never gave a thought about this part of her life. That she loved taking pictures and shooting film, particularly home movies?

There are several generations that know virtually nothing about the Swedish actress beyond her films. After “Casablanca,” it will take a little while for many of a certain age to produce the names of several other titles in rapid succession. Well, fasten your seatbelts, Dear Readers, you’re going on a joyride.

Behind the wheel is "Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words." The Stig Bjorkman documentary premieres this evening at the 53rd New York Film Festival.

It focuses on her childhood, acting career, love affairs. Most tenderly, though, time spent with her children frolicking and generally have a merry good time.

When IB’s daughter Isabella Rossellini was diagnosed with scoliosis, this often absent mother took off a couple of years to care for her. She left her first husband Peter for her second husband, Roberto Rossellini. In the process, she was forced to abandon her first daughter, Pia Lindstrom, for a few years.

"Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words" is so intimate, it could be an autobiography if the subject were still alive. Yards of film footage shot by IB herself is a major part of the film.

It also relies on letters to her childhood friends. Further, the intimacy is aided massively because SB had access to IB’s four children. All appear in the film.

"Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words" forms a portrait of a somewhat complicated, but decent woman who follows her dreams, sometimes to the detriment of others. In fact, many have groused about what the film fails to tell, depending on which rumor mill one is sourcing. Her reported myriad affairs with costars is glossed over, critics charge.

The most damning criticism so far has been about her mothering. In short, she is accused of being a bad mother. The basis for this charge is her sometimes long absences from her children when she was shooting a film or performing in the theater.

There are, too, those occasions when she left her children to be with one man or the other. These were things that just weren't done by women in the 50s. Even today, women are held to this double standard.

However, Pia’s own words should silence those standing in furious judgment. “The only thing that I think any of her children feel is that we wished we had more of her.”

Ingrid's girls: Twins Ingrid and Isabella Rossellini and Pia Lindstrom at a premiere of "Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words" in Sweden.

Viewers will wish they had more of "Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words."

Visit to learn more about the 53rd New York Film Festival, including showtimes and venues.

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