‘Liv & Ingmar’ delves into an intense relationship

 

In "Liv & Ingmar," Liv Ullmann (right) reflects on her relationship with Ingmar Bergman (left).
In “Liv & Ingmar,” Liv Ullmann (right) reflects on her relationship with Ingmar Bergman (left).

‘Liv & Ingmar’
Director: Dheeraj Akolkar
Genre: Documentary
Rating: NR
3 (out of 5) Globes

The story of legendary director Ingmar Bergman and his sometime actress, sometime muse, sometime lover (and even sometime adapter) Liv Ullman has already, in a sense, been filmed. The movies he made with her — starting with 1966’s “Persona” — are at least quasi-autobiographical. The two met when she was 25 and he 46. Thus began an intense relationship that ran, in various forms, until his 2007 death. Even after they split up, they remained close and continued to work together. When she wasn’t appearing in his films, she was directing his scripts (including “Private Confessions” and “Faithless”). He was the man she couldn’t quit.

“Liv & Ingmar” is not the last word on their relationship. Bergman is no longer around, leaving only Ullmann, still rambunctious in her 70s, to recount what happened. Theirs was a rocky, often unpleasant union, no less because she sometimes found herself recreating aspects of her life on his sets. But time has abated much of the pain. Her tone is meditative and bittersweet, with Ullman looking back fondly on someone who could be accused of being needy, manipulative and cruel.

There’s a much more insightful film that could be made from their relationship, which is not to say that “Liv & Ingmar” is useless. It’s more interesting as a celebration of Ullmann. It lightly delves into her international stardom in the ‘70s, when, thanks to Berman’s films and the Swedish hit “The Emigrants,” she made the rounds in American films, even flirting with an eager Johnny Carson. (It only alludes to the disastrous musical remake of “Lost Horizon,” which caused Bette Midler to quip, “I never miss a Liv Ullmann musical.”)

The film could stand another perspective, or even delve further into the notion of a love so intense that one party could forgive acts that many would find distasteful. (It could also stand less twinkly piano music and attempts at cheesy visual poetry that would make Bergman retch.) But it’s always great to see Ullmann, a figure who often turns down chances to be seen by the public, or to be thought of outside the context of the filmmaker who made her huge.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Actor Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in June…

By Jonathan Stempel(Reuters) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others in his limousine were not wearing seat belts when their vehicle was struck by…

National

Connected cars: Is AT&T leaving Verizon in its…

By Marina Lopes and Bernie WoodallWASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - Verizon Communications, the No.1 U.S. wireless carrier known for its widespread coverage, is falling behind its biggest…

Local

Grand jury begins hearing evidence in Eric Garner…

A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday relating to the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in July. Garner, 43, of Staten Island,…

Local

Mayor announces plan for solar panels at city…

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the planned installation of 24 new solar panels at city schools on Monday morning. The panels, a $28 million investment,…

Going Out

Taste what Lower Manhattan is cooking at today's…

The Lower Manhattan food scene has changed a lot in three years, which you can taste first hand when the neighborhood's food festival returns. On…

Television

Review: 'Selfie' tries to coast on the charm…

"Selfie" offers cute leads and some good jokes, but focuses too much on a vague distaste for social media.

Movies

Review: Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children' is…

Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children" takes a hysterical and melodramatic look at disconnection in the digital age, turning strong actors into zombies.

Television

TV watch list, Monday, Sept. 29: 'Castle,' 'Mom'…

Tune in for the season premieres of "Castle," "Mom" and "NCIS: Los Angeles."

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony preaches patience with new coach, offense

While star forward Carmelo Anthony said he’s “enthusiastic” and “optimistic” for the upcoming season, he still wants everyone — from within the locker room and…

Education

How to ace your private school interview

Getting ready for a private school interview can be daunting for many, most of whom might never have been in an interview situation before. We’ve…

Education

5 questions parents should ask while visiting private…

It can be hard to know what to look for when searching for a new school for your child. Parents considering several different schools can…

Education

3 ways to save money on college application…

With the average high school student applying to 5 or 6 schools, hefty application and test score fees can add up quickly. We’ve compiled some…

Education

Nap rooms: The latest college campus trend

College is a time filled with new experiences (and lots of schoolwork), leaving little time for students to get a good night’s rest. University of…