The smallest venue at the Telluride Film Festival is the Backlot, a room in what is usually the library. Backlot shows films about artists and their achievements. One selection that was irresistible to fans of classic cinema was “Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words”.
Diary entries (read in English by Alicia Vikander), interviews and home movies give remarkable insight into the life of the iconic Ingrid. Bergman first came to Hollywood to make a 1939 American version of her Swedish success “Intermezzo”.
A series of many acclaimed films followed including “Gaslight” (for which she received her first Oscar), “Casablanca”, and Hitchcocks’s “Notorious”. Bergman’s husband Petter Lindström, a Swedish doctor, and their daughter Pia followed her to the US. Pia provides her impressions on life as the daughter of a celebrated movie star and on the separations from her mother.
The film gives Ingrid’s intimate thoughts about her time in Hollywood as well as what led to her desire to make a film in Italy with neorealist director Roberto Rossellini, in conditions very different from the studio system.
The married Ingrid’s open affair with Rossellini created a major scandal which the film documents, including Bergman’s being denounced in the US Congress. Bergman and Rossellini had three children, Roberto, Isabella and Ingrid. All of them as well as Pia provide personal recollections of their times with their famous mother where her absences were acutely felt.
The film covers Bergman’s collaborations with Rossellini and her career after she resumed working for American studios. Liv Ullmann and Sigourney Weaver talk about their experiences acting with her.
Bergman’s children give some intriguing information on their mother including why there will never be a “Mommie Dearest” type book from any of them, and the surprising contents in her letters to a long-time friend.
By focusing on the personal side of Ingrid Bergman and her relationships with her children, this documentary gives a fascinating and full portrait of a great and enduring talent.