a) Dreams influencing his films
When talking about his movie The Hour of The Wolf, Ingmar joked that he believed in demons, but it was not as much a joke as that for him because when he from when he was a child and going into his forties had been haunted by extremely terrible dreams from is childhood to his forties that made him think about demons enough to joke that he believed in them, he was haunted by terrible dreams, sometimes simply daydreams. Perhaps the episode with the child, the filming and the drowning in that film had been based on a dream. Perhaps there were many instances where dreams had served him crumbs of ideas which he hasn't talked about.
Somethings things happened to him in very strange, mysterious and dangerous way, and he was very scared, and sometimes his dreams were so real that when he tried to remember something, he didn't know whether it happened in reality or if he had dreamt it, but as he went into his fifties , all this went into the past.
However, he had transferred dreams exactly as he had dreamt them to film twice. One was in the film Wild Strawberries with the coffin scene. He did it without any translation, he just put it in as it was. The other film was The Naked Night, the first sequence with the clown and his wife. Sometimes while he was dreaming, he would think: 'I'll remember this, I'll make a film of it' and to him it was a sort of occupational disease.
|Hour of the Wolf (1968)|
b) Leaving dreams behind
He has grown up, he was working a lot, and was the director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre from 1963 for three years, starting 8am working until 11pm and off he went home and to sleep, and so there was no place left for demons and dreams. Then he went to his island where he lived for four years, and there reality was such that there was no place for his demons and bad dreams, and instead he would have ridiculous comical ones that cause him to laugh, and these dreams were not ones that he could be bothered to make into films, it didn't interest him by then and his reality became much more concerned with the people around him. He felt that if you have difficulty with your relationships with other people and reality around you, then it was a place for demons, but if you are in contact with yourself and other people and reality, there was no room for dreams.
He found out that somebody studying sleep discovered that if they prevent a person from dreaming, that person would go completely crazy, and it would be completely the same with him. If he could not create his dreams, that is, his films, it would make him crazy. Dreams seemed to be a sort of creative process.
|Cries and Whispers (1972)|
c) Cries and Whispers
When he came to make Cries And Whispers released in 1972, one morning before he woke up, he had a very strange picture in his mind. There was a red room with three women in old fashioned white robes. The sun or the light was very warm, but the strange thing that came from this vision or picture or dream, came a strange magic and a sort of sorrow and melancholy. He forgot about this vision and left it for several days, and two or three weeks later, it suddenly was there again, this strange picture or vision of a half-dream red room with the three old fashioned dressed women and a very strange light. What was strange about the light was that it didn't come from the windows. The vision came to him two, three or four times and from that he knew that it would be a new film.
He didn't know anything about those women. Somehow they seemed related to one another but he didn't know anything about their relationships, and then he started to think about them. He asked himself about what they might say to each other in this strange, early magic morning light and why there was this atmosphere of melancholy? Then with his fantasies he started to play with those three women and this was the most wonderful time when working with a picture. It was a secret lustful time and he felt as if he were involved in some sort of grace. Then he went onto the writing everything out in his books, all that the visions told him
|Wild Stawberries (1957)|
d) The script writing process
When Ingmar would start writing the final script, he would write endless books of notations, what the visions would tell him, and very personal dialogues, discussions, and personal expressions, and situations, memories, things that have nothing directly to do with the picture or with anybody but himself or even what the . It was a very boring process which he hated and afterwards he would throw everything away. But he would boil everything in those books down into the final script and put all those things together as if in a dream, so nothing could be recognised. It would always be thousands of details, and these combinations were emotionally stimulating to his creative mind. From these combinations he would build a selective reality, a mirrored reality. Suddenly it became a newer reality.
Writing the actual script was the boring part because he was dealing with a reality where the playing of games that he felt would be like moments of a masterpiece of all times was over. It required patience. Still, as with Cries and Whispers, it was still very lustful and he would still work through it with curiosity.
|The Naked Night|
e) Dreaming being like film making
He found himself to be as a person and a director, extremely curious about human beings and himself. He had to be curious about what was going on with the three women in Cries and Whispers, and the experience was completely irrational, like a dream. However it was something experienced while being fully awake, and he would consider the way his films were made to be of the same material that dreams are made of. All his films to him were to him as dreams and came from the same factory that made dreams. Writing and film making and the creation of pictures were extremely close to dreams and cinematography when it is as its best was very very close to dreaming.The way that it came to him was as if they were dreams in his mind before he wrote and they were made from the same materials, from everything that he ever saw, heard or felt. He used reality in the same way that dreams did. His own dreams seemed very realistic and so did his films, and he found a certain security in that reality, but then something would happen that disturbed him to make him feel insecure.
f) Reality confusion as a child
When he was a child, he was happy because he lived in his dreams. He was alone and would build puppet theatres and puppets. He would mix up what happened, what was reality and what had been in his dreams, and this would get him into trouble with his mother and father. He seen became a great liar to escape the punishments since caning was the core upbringing in his childhood and he found it horrific.
- Ingmar Bergman: No other art-medium—neither painting nor poetry—can communicate the specific quality of the dream as well as the film can. When the lights go down in the cinema and this white shining point opens up for us, our gaze stops flitting hither and thither, settles and becomes quite steady. We just sit there, letting the images flow out over us. Our will ceases to function. We lose our ability to sort things out and fix them in their proper places. We're drawn into a course of events—we're participants in a dream. And manufacturing dreams, that's a juicy business. (Bergman on Bergman (1968))
- Ingmar Bergman: Sometimes while I'm dreaming I think: 'I'll remember this, I'll make a film of it'—it's a sort of occupational disease. (Bergman on Bergman (1968))
- John Simon: In an interview, discussing Hour of the Wolf, you said that you
believe in demons; but how can you not believe in God, yet believe in
demons? Aren't the two things connected? Can one have the one without
Ingmar Bergman:: Well, if I say I believe in demons, of course, it is just a little joke. You sore of want to name things
John Simon: Things that bother you
Ingmar Bergman: Yes, of course. Yes it's not exactly a joke, because when I was younger, not very much young, say, five, six, ten years ago, and back into my childhood, I was haunted by extremely terrible dreams... sometimes daydreams; sometimes things happened to me in a very, very strange, mysterious, and dangerous way, and I was very scared, and sometimes my dreams were so real that when I tried to remember something, I didn't know exactly if it happened in reality or if I had dreamed it. It was very painful; but now it has disappeared - all of those things
John Simon: Why do you think it went away?
Ingmar Bergman: I grew up. I worked a lot; I was the director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre for three years. I started in the morning at eight o'clock and was there until eleven at night; then I went home and slept. I was at it ten months a year and there was no place left for demons and dreams. The I went to my island; I have lived there for four years. On the island reality is so real, it's no place for demons or bad dreams. Instead of bad dreams, I now have ridiculous ones, comical dreams - I often laugh
John Simon: Can you use those dreams in your work?
Ingmar Bergman: Perhaps, I don't know. It doesn't interest me any more. To me reality is very real now, and other human beings
John Simon: More important than dreams?
Ingmar Bergman:Yes, exactly, and if you have difficulty with your relationships with other people and reality around you, it is a place for demons, but if you are in contact with yourself and other people and reality, there's no room for dreams. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, p84-85)
- John Simon: For example, in Hour of the Wolf, the episode with the child, the
filming and the drowning. What is the relationship of the hero to that
boy, is that his son?
Ingmar Bergman: No, I don't know exactly. I think it was based on a dream I had. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, ("Conversation With Bergman", 1971,) p86)
- Ingmar Bergman: Before I start writing the final script, I write and write and
write books and books of notations. They are very personal; dialogues
and discussions and personal expressions and situations, memories,
things that have nothing directly to do with the picture or with anybody
but myself. It is very boring, I hate it. And afterwards I throw
But I boil all that down into the final script. I put all those things together as in a dream - so you don't recognise anything. It's always thousands of details, and these combinations are emotionally stimulating to my creative mind. From these combinations I build a selective reality, a mirrored reality. Suddenly it's a newer reality. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, ("Conversation With Bergman", 1971,), p86 )
- Ingmar Bergman: You know, somebody studying sleep discovered that if they prevent you
from dreaming, you go crazy. It is completely the same with me. If I
could not create my dreams, - my films - that would make me crazy.
Dreams are a sort of creative process, don't you think? My films come from the same factory. They are like dreams in my mind before I write, and they are made from the same materials, from everything I have ever see or heard or felt. I use reality the same way dreams do. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, p106)
- Ingmar Bergman: Dreams seem very realistic - and so do my films - and there is a certain
security in that reality. And then something happens that disturbs you
that makes you insecure.
All my films are dreams. When I was very little I was happen because I lived in dreams. I was alone and I built puppet theatres and puppets. Sometimes I used to mix up what had happen - what was reality and what had been my dreams. - and that would give me trouble with my mother and father. After I saw my first motion picture - it was Black Beauty - was so excited I was in bed three days with a fever. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, p107)
- Question: In your films you often fuse reality and dreams. Do you feel that reality and dreams are of equal importance
Bergman: yes, To me real cinematography is very, very close to the dreaming, as cinematography is when it is at its best. . Think only of the time gap: You can make things as long as you want, exactly as in a dream. You can make things as short as you want exactly as in a dream. As a director, a creator of the picture, you are like a dreamer. (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, p129)
- Question: Have you transferred dreams to film exactly as you dreamed them
Bergman: Yes I have done it twice. I have written down a dream and filmed it just as I had dreamt it. One is in Wild Strawberries with the coffin. Without any translation, it's just put in as it was. The other picture is The Naked Night - the first sequence with the clown and his wife. Writing and filmmaking and the creation of pictures are so extremely close to our dreams
- Right now Bergman knows that the area he covers is not that of the social or the realistically psychological. His work follows, he says, " the natural structure of dreams." This is the type of film he wants to make right now films that are dreams. And since so many have told him that he is pretentious, he plans to do the hardest thing there is: make art of the intentionally pretentious (Ingmar Bergman: Interviews, p9)
- Student: Can you tell us something about how you come to a film, how it first begins to grow for you?
Bergman: When I made Cries and Whispers, I saw one morning before I waked up - a very strange picture in my mind. There was a red room with three women in white robes, old fashioned. The sun - the light - was very warm, but the strange thing was that from this vision or picture or dream - I don't know exactly how to express it - came a strange magic and a sort of sorrow and melancholy; I forgot this vision and went away from it for several days. Two or three weeks later, it suddenly was there again, this very strange picture or vision of half-dream red room, the three old-fashioned dressed women and a very strange light. The light was strange because it didn't come from the windows. Later it came to me two or three or four times and at that moment I knew this would be a new picture. I didn't know anything about those women. In a way they were related to each other, I knew that, but I didn't know anything about their relationships. But then, I started to think about them. What do they say to each other in this very strange, early magic morning light, and why this atmosphere of melancholy? And then slowly, I started to play with those three women, to play with them in my fantasy, and that is the most wonderful time when you are working with a picture. It's a very secret, a very lustful time, and you feel involved in some sort of grace.
Forgive me, talking about those romantic scenes as "grace" and "magic" and so on, but I can't tell it another way. It was just that way.
And then I started. I always have a small book. I have books in which I write and write and write - two books, three books, four books - about what this imagination or this vision tells me, and it will be more and more. Then, one day, I have to sit down and to start the first writing of the first screenplay. And that is very boring because the time of playing games - when you feel this will be the masterpiece of all times, this will be the most wonderful scene ever made - is over. You have to sit and have patience and suddenly to understand that this will not be the masterpiece of all times. But it's still, in a way lustful and you are still very curious.
I. as a director and as a human being, am extremely curious, curious about human beings, curious about myself. And also, of course curious about what is going on with those three women. So, that is the start. And it's irrational, completely irrational. It's like a dream, I can't say this was a dream, because I know I was absolutely awake. But it is made, I think, of the same material as dreams are made of. (Talking With Ingmar Bergman)
- Woody Allen, who described Bergman as "a magical filmmaker", said that Bergman would sometimes ring him from his "oddball little island" and confide about his "irrational dreams". (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/8956597/Ingmar-Bergman-told-off-housekeeper-for-buying-boring-cheese.html)
- Ingmar Bergman offered an insight into his life and working methods in a rare interview with Reuters earlier this week. The venerated film-maker discussed the demons which drive his films and recounted a recent dream about a "large, shimmering green bird" that spoke to him in a field. "I am normally afraid of birds and have never dreamt of any bird in my life," he said. The 85-year-old director implied that the dream was a message from his late wife, Ingrid. (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2001/dec/12/news.xanbrooks)
- Bergman also discussed his early influences and the strict upbringing which he says led him to escape into a fantasy world. "Hence my difficulty in separating the dream world from the real one. I became a great liar to escape the punishments. Caning was at the core of upbringing 70 years ago, but it was still horrific." (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2001/dec/12/news.xanbrooks)
- Bergman: The demons are innumerable, appear at the most inconvenient times and create panic and terror. But I have learnt that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage. (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2007/07/30/uk-sweden-bergman-idUKSAT00437220070730)