Noir Sidebar: Bergman Noir

AUGUST 16, 20, 22

“At that time the film noir directors were my gods.” In a 1968 interview, Swedish master Ingmar Bergman acknowledged the influence of American film noir on his formative years as a filmmaker in the 1940s. The stylish methods and fatalistic moods of noir, and of German Expressionism, noir’s stylistic antecedent, are much in evidence in early Bergman movies such as It Rains on Our Love and A Ship Bound for India — and, before that, in Torment, the dark psychological drama, directed by Alf Sjöberg but scripted by Bergman, that launched Bergman’s career in cinema. Expressionist tendencies remained pronounced in many of Bergman’s mature works. In turn, Bergman’s own particular Weltanschauung of existential angst and pessimism, of deeply troubled human relations, is one likely influencer of the “Nordic noir” crime genre so globally popular today.

 

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The influence of American film noir and French poetic realism is apparent in Bergman's moody, symbol-laden second feature.
Bergman’s third feature is a sordid melodrama that makes claustrophobic use of space and centres on a strange quartet of characters.
Ingmar Bergman was screenwriter and assistant director of this sordid tale of passion and murder directed by Swedish master Alf Sjöberg.