a documentary film with footage taken by the actress, her father, her children, and others.
Was there ever a more attractive actress in her prime than Ingrid Bergman? Her physical beauty endured through several decades, beginning when she was a teen, through her mid forties and beyond. She was tall, lithe, and had good bones. Her face was known for its natural beauty without makeup. When she moved, she had an almost athletic, even tomboyish grace. The footage of her in Italy with her three young children with Roberto Rosselini shows her natural charm. She smiles easily, as if the camera were made for her. Her relationship with the camera is the subject of the film.
Her parents died when she was young, but her father used to film her when she was very small. Isabella, her daughter, thinks that Ingrid felt her father was looking at her when she was in the camera viewfinder even after he died. Being filmed, and filming others, is an act of preservation that is especially meaningful for the Swedish actress.
When she was a girl, she kept a strict diary, and as she grew up, Bergman held onto everything– pictures, books, films, records, school documents. She carried them all with her wherever she lived, and she lived in Sweden, Hollywood, Rome, Paris, and London. Wesleyan University holds her archives. They include:
a complete record of her professional and personal life, beginning with her baby pictures and childhood diaries and continuing through her Hollywood years, her international stardom and on to the end of her life. The Collection includes scripts, awards, portraits, photos of family and friends, scrapbooks, costumes and clothing, legal papers, financial records, stills, clippings, negatives, memorabilia, and excellent correspondence files which contain letters from personalities such as Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, James Stewart, Hitchcock, and Selznick.
It is easy to imagine why a child who lost both parents by the time she was fourteen would want to hold onto things. As an only child, she could only remember her past by looking at the pictures, by watching the films, and reviewing the records.
The documentary might be Isabella Rosselini’s gift back to her mother for the career she shared in moving pictures. Even though Pia Lindstrom was in front of the camera as a newscaster, Roberto Rosselini Jr, and Ingrid Rosselini did not go into the business. Isabella’s work both in front and behind the camera owes something to her mother. This film has all the charm of its subject, and sheds light on the scandals and controversies that Bergman survived with her characteristic grace.