This concise overview of the career of one of the modern masters of world cinema defines Ingmar Bergman's conception of the human condition as a struggle to find meaning in life as it is played out. After examining six existential themes explored repeatedly in Bergman's films--judgment, abandonment, suffering, shame, a visionary picture, and a turning toward or away from others--Jesse Kalin shows how these themes are expressed in eight of his films, including well known favorites such as Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Smiles of a Summer Night, and Fanny and Alexander. Other important but lesser known films covered include Naked Night, Shame, Cries and Whispers, and Scenes from a Marriage.
1. Introduction: The geography of the soul; Part I. The Films of the Fifties: 2. The primal seen: The Clowns' Evening; 3. The journey: The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries; 4. The great dance: Smiles of a Summer Night; Part II: Second Thoughts: 5. A dream play: Shame; 6. The illiterates: Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, and the Films of the 1970s; Part III: A Final Look: 7. The little world: Fanny and Alexander; Afterwards: Biographical note; Bergman and existentialism: a brief comment; A note on Woody Allen; Appendix.