• 29.04.2022 - 30.04.2022
  • 🇸🇪 Schweden / Örebro
  • Örebro University
  • zur Website

Ingmar Bergman Out of Focus

Being one of the main representatives of European modernist cinema, Ingmar Bergman’s oeuvre has been the subject of heated debate and various readings. The rapid canonization of his work after his international breakthrough in 1956 has tended to reinforce an interpretation of Bergman as "the auteur", usually written from a high art perspective. As Bergman-scholar Maaret Koskinen repeatedly pointed out, discourses around Bergman were always a mix between high art and the popular, both at home in Sweden and abroad. His films attracted a variety of audiences seeking redemptive messages, liberal agendas, religious transcendence, and/or eroticism. Beyond his titles, Bergman’s strong public image as quintessential modernist filmmaker has usually functioned as a productive intersection of (sometimes contradictory) images, interests and discourses. Bergman has been alternatively seen as an artist, the main voice of Swedish cinema, a creative genius between cinema and other media, a transcendental artist or a clown, as well as a danger to the national youth, a source of moral disorder or a ‘too theatrical’ filmmaker. Given the different (national) contexts and time periods, one could argue that each audience has generated its own ‘Bergman’.

This workshop aims to bring together scholars interested in shedding light on some of these contexts and film cultures, as we believe that understanding Ingmar Bergman’s interpretations is also a productive way of understanding how a significant part of film history has been seen and commented on, adopted and adapted, written and read. Bergman was a filmmaker, but for cinephiles, critics, and audiences around the word he was also more than that: the images projected on the Swedish auteur function as a telling example that film history can not be just reduced to a history of its films. In this regard, this symposium sees itself as a timely contribution to the analysis of film culture, that is, the institutions, discourses, places and practices that are not films but without which there would be no films. This relates, in the tradition of New Cinema History, to the cinema as a site of cultural exchange, but it also goes beyond and includes discourses in specialized magazines, practices at institutions such as film clubs, festivals, film schools etc. New Cinema History as a field is in nature transdisciplinary – a variety we wish to maintain in our workshop – such as memory and oral history research, social and economic historiography, geography, social anthropology, ethnography, cultural and memory studies, and area/urban studies. We therefore encourage participants from a variety of academic backgrounds to participate (such as, but not limited to, film and media studies, anthropology, art and cultural history). Additionally, we aim to include global, comparative, and/or peripheral perspectives on this topic. Considering these aspects, this workshop is interested in contributions that could, but are not limited to, illuminate some of the following subjects:

  • A Swedish auteur: Bergman’s reception in different local and/or national film cultures & political climates;
  • International, transnational, world cinema; Bergman as brand: commerce of auteurism;
  • Audience reception in terms of admissions, circulation, oral history, emotional experiences;
  • High and Low: Critical reception, cinephilic anxieties, canonisation;
  • Artistic reinterpretations of Bergman (adaptations and remakes);
  • Gendered audiences, gendered history; women portrayed by men;
  • Religious interpretations / catholic vs protestant;
  • Paratextual information informing the interpretations;
  • Beyond the auteur / back to the auteur? Contemporary readings on Bergman;
  • And Bergman in popular cinema, TV and other media.