“Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words” (2015)
Produced with the full cooperation of Ingrid Bergman’s family and friends, “In Her Own Words” is a film that is incredibly loaded with personal photos and home movies of the actress and her family. Bergman had a fascination for cameras from an early age. Her mother died when she was very young, and her father seemed to want to document Ingrid’s life with photos and even home movies, to make sure that she remembered everything from her childhood. After an incredibly tough childhood where she lost a great deal of her family, including her beloved father at age twelve, Bergman started acting at a very early age. She went to an acting school at age sixteen, only to quit after a year, when her film work began to take off. Ingrid met and married a young doctor, Petter Aron Lindström, and they had a daughter named Pia. She became such a sensation in Sweden that Hollywood came calling. Legendary producer David O. Selznick, the man responsible for bringing the world “Gone With the Wind” just two years earlier, signed Ingrid to a big contract and immediately sent her to Hollywood right before World War II broke out.
Bergman had always wanted to work in Hollywood, and she acted in some of the most iconic films of the forties, including “Intermezzo,” Hitchcock’s “Notorious” and of course, “Casablanca.” She would go on to be a seven-time Academy Award nominee and three-time Academy Award-winner, along with a Tony and numerous Golden Globes. She eventually grew tired of Hollywood and decided that she wanted work with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, who had set the world on its ear with his groundbreaking film “Open City.’ She wrote a letter to Rossellini, a letter that would forever change her life. Ingrid would fall in love with Rossellini while still married to her first husband, and it would shock the world when she had a baby out of wedlock with Rossellini. Suddenly, Ingrid Bergman became the world’s first film star to be continually stalked by the paparazzi, and she was practically banned by the U.S. government to return to the States to make films. The scandal would follow her for the rest of her career, and it was years before she found box-office success again.
“Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words” documents the struggles that Bergman went through, giving us insight into her thought process in the letters that she wrote to family and friends. Ingrid Bergman kept every correspondence and took an incredible amount of home movies, giving us a complete picture of what it was like in the Bergman home. The home movies are wonderfully shot, primarily by Ingrid, and most are in color.
There are numerous interviews with both close friends and her children, including, her youngest, actress Isabella Rossellini. You can see the love they had for their mother and how proud they were of her strong independent character. While they admit that she wasn’t always there (they had to stay behind in school, while she traveled around the world doing movies and plays), but when she was there, it was almost magical. You can see through those movies that their mother made their time together as full and enjoyable as possible.
The film also uses the many interviews that Ingrid did, and because she was invariably a straight talker, we get to know her through those interviews. One of the big thrills of this film is getting to see a lot of footage that was shot behind the scenes of her movies. There is some early test footage when she first arrived in Hollywood that is her with no makeup on besides some lip rouge. Her beauty in that shot just takes your breath away.
While a little long and spending a little too much time on footage showing the kids playing, “Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words” is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes footage that will make any fan happy to rediscover this amazing actress and the incredible life she led. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“Ingrid Bergamn: In Her Own Words” is playing exclusively at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
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