Ingrid Bergman was born on 29th August 1915 in Stockholm, Sweden. She lost her German mother at the age of two, and her Swedish father when she was 13. After spending the next several years living with relatives, Bergman received a scholarship to attend the Royal Dramatic Theatre School in Stockholm; thus beginning the career of a legendary actress.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is a documentary from Swedish director Stig Björkman, all about the life and career of the Academy Award winning actress. Using home footage, clips, letters and diary entries, we delve into the life of Ingrid Bergman, and the many challenges she faced in her personal life, and over the course of her career. Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, The Danish Girl) narrates by voicing Bergman, in reading her letters and diary entries.
This documentary gives an intriguing insight into the life of the Swedish actress, as it’s literally, “in her own words”. Those hoping to hear interesting stories about the films of Bergman or her place in cinema history will be disappointed, as the main focus is on her life away from the screen. Approximately only 30 seconds of this documentary is dedicated to Casablanca, one of Bergman’s most famous films, in which she stared with Humphrey Bogart.
In addition to the footage and writing from Bergman herself, there are several interviews with those close to the actress, including family members and colleagues. There are also interviews with her four children, three of whom discuss growing up with two famous parents, both often away for long periods of time on film sets.
This intimate and engrossing documentary, standing at just under two hours long, produces an engaging insight into the life of a determined actress; working her way up from small parts in Swedish films, to the heights of Hollywood. Although Bergman doesn’t come across as the most endearing person at times, it’s hard not to admire the determination in pursuit of her career, and the handling of the scandals that she faced along the way.
The diary entries and letters bring you closer to the actress, who died in London in 1982; headstrong and determined of course, but also charming and warmly remembered by her children and those who knew her.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is available on DVD now.