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A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : CLASSICS : Bergman’s Next but No Bergman

When Ingmar Bergman’s 1983 film “Fanny and Alexander,” which won a best foreign-language film Oscar, was released, it was declared the summation of the legendary director’s career. So film buffs in Europe have been intrigued at reports of another Bergman film, called “Best Intentions,” based on the story of how his parents met.

A press conference was called in Stockholm last week at which a three-hour version of “Best Intentions” was screened. The media gathered, hoping for interviews with the increasingly reclusive Bergman

But Bergman did not direct the film himself. He turned over his script to director Bille August, whose 1988 film “Pelle the Conqueror” also won an Oscar in the foreign-language film category.

More disappointingly, Bergman refused to show at the press conference, instead sending a message that he did not wish to steal any attention from August. Bergman told associates he felt his part in the film was completed. “I have seen Bille’s warmth, his professionalism, his precision, and what is known as ‘what lies below’ his work,” he added in a press release. “I know of no one I would rather have than Bille to direct my screenplay.”

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“Best Intentions” covers the years 1909 to 1918, the decade before Bergman was born, and deals with the courtship of his father, an impoverished theology student, and his mother, a young girl from a wealthy family. Bergman uncovered the story of their romance when writing his autobiography. Max von Sydow, star of several Bergman films (as well as “Pelle the Conqueror”) appears in “Best Intentions” as Bergman’s maternal grandfather.

The film exists in at least three different versions. The Samuel Goldwyn Co. will release a two-hour version in the United States in May, but a six-hour version will be shown in Sweden as a TV miniseries.


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