A Little Bergman Reading

It’s been quite an Ingmar Bergman January for me. I’ve been slowly working my way through Criterion’s monumental box set in chronological order. (I’ve only gotten as far as 1949’s Thirst.) Though I have not begun reading the gorgeous book of essays that accompanies the book, I did, by chance, have reason to read a little bit about Bergman.

The New York Times, for awhile now, apparently, has had a podcast devoted to its Book Review section called, aptly, The Book Review Podcast. Recently, the hosts welcomed the paper’s co-chief film critic A. O. Scott to discuss a new book he reviewed, Unquiet. The novel is a work of fiction by Linn Ullman, the daughter of Bergman and actress Liv Ullman. Per Scott, it is not a salacious autobiography, but a thinly veiled retelling of a girl growing up with monumentally famous parents.

Liv Ullman, of course, is the star of many of Bergman’s most famous films, including my personal favorite (so far!), Autumn Sonata, a devastating but beautiful film. Linn, her daughter, is herself a celebrated writer, though apparently the subject of her parents has long been off limits. She does not, apparently, reveal much in Unquiet. Here’s how Scott describes it in his review:

For readers anticipating a book-length gossip-column blind item — or a score-settling peek into the intimate lives of famous people — “Unquiet” may be disappointing. The real-life celebrity of the almost-fictional characters, including Linn Ullmann herself, several of whose books have been international best sellers, is both a lure and a distraction. … The enigmas of “Persona” and the emotional shadings of “Scenes From a Marriage” are unlikely to be illuminated by any new revelations about their maker and star.

Adding Unquiet to my list of books to read. Next up to view: To Joy.