The art of film, it is often said, begins at the point where human speech fails. Moving pictures, married to sound and music, enable us to enter worlds beyond the reach of words alone. For the veteran Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, these are the worlds of dream. “When film is not a document it is a dream,” he wrote in his autobiography, The Magic Lantern. “Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.”

Bergman’s dreams have for the most part been nightmares. His films are as far from the popular tradition of Hollywood as Fårö, his Baltic island retreat, is from Los Angeles. Instead he has drawn on Scandinavian drama and his own Lutheran background in Sweden, where he was born in 1918, to create an individual style that is honored throughout the world. Many images from his work...


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