Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Who Knew? Ingmar Bergman Loved Soderbergh's 'Ocean's 11' & Owned 'Die Hard'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist July 7, 2011 at 1:39AM

Ask the layman, or even the more casual film fan, of their impression of the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, and the words 'depressed,' 'serious,' 'boring,' and 'forbidding' are likely to come up. Not that these aren't occasionally fair descriptions of aspects of the man and his work, but to label him exclusively as any of these things is to overlook the wry humor, the raw sexuality, and sheer entertainment ("The Seventh Seal" is a kind of a blast) found in most, if not all of his films. But even we were surprised to discover that like anyone, Bergman sometimes liked to kick back with a blockbuster.
3


Ask the layman, or even the more casual film fan, of their impression of the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, and the words 'depressed,' 'serious,' 'boring,' and 'forbidding' are likely to come up. Not that these aren't occasionally fair descriptions of aspects of the man and his work, but to label him exclusively as any of these things is to overlook the wry humor, the raw sexuality, and sheer entertainment ("The Seventh Seal" is a kind of a blast) found in most, if not all of his films. But even we were surprised to discover that like anyone, Bergman sometimes liked to kick back with a blockbuster.

Edward Lawrenson of The Guardian visited Bergman's home on the Baltic island of Fårö, where the director lived from the 1960s until his death in 2007, as part of the annual Bergman Week, and there's more than a few revelations coming out of the report. Most are about the man's lifestyle and work habits; his home on the island is described as something of a prison, with red hearts and black crosses etched on the door of his study signifying, respectively, happy and depressive moments. But it's his viewing habits that are more of a revelation.

Bergman had a cinema built in a converted farmhouse near his home, hosting a screening at 3pm every day -- his seat in the front row is left empty to this day as a mark of respect. Among his extensive collection? No less than John McTiernan's action classic "Die Hard," which Lawrenson notes is filed next to Kieslowski's "Decalogue." History doesn't relate whether the Swedish helmer liked it, or even ever watched John McClane and Hans Gruber go head to head, but there's one blockbuster that he certainly seemed to love.

Crime writer Henning Mankell, author of the "Wallander" series, is married to Bergman's daughter Eva, and relates watching Steven Soderbergh's star-studded remake of "Ocean's 11" with his father-in-law. The legend apparently loved the heist caper, telling Mankell after the screening "Jesus! We need to see this again next week."

We're not surprised that Bergman has an affinity with Soderbergh, one of the few people who would bring genuine experimentation into the blockbuster tent, and a man who loves film almost as much as the Swede. And, if he did watch "Die Hard," it reinforces that Bergman had pretty great taste in action movies -- we'd have been devastated if, say, "U.S. Marshals" or "Cradle 2 The Grave" were the ones dotted in his collection.

We're likely to get more insights into Bergman's home life in the next couple of years: Mankell is writing "Crisis," a four-part TV biopic of his father-in-law, to be directed by Susanne Bier, which will shoot next year, and likely get a theatrical release abroad. In the meantime, we'll be honoring the imminent four-year anniversary of Bergman's death tonight with a glass of aquavit and the comic antics of Bernie Mac and Matt Damon.

This article is related to: Vintage Directors, Ingmar Bergman


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates