Monday, February 27, 2012

Deceased--Erland Josephson

Erland Josephson
June 15th, 1923 to February 25th, 2012

"Erland Josephson obituary"

Swedish actor known for his roles in Ingmar Bergman's films and television dramas


Ronald Bergan

February 26th, 2012

Although the actors who comprised Ingmar Bergman's repertory company all went on to make their own prestigious careers, they will for ever be associated with the great Swedish film and stage director. Erland Josephson, who has died aged 88 after suffering from Parkinson's disease, was artistically linked with Bergman even more than Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin. Josephson appeared in more than a dozen of Bergman's films, and played a Bergman surrogate in Ullmann's Faithless (2000).

In middle and old age, he was chosen by directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Theo Angelopoulos for the qualities he revealed in the Bergman films – a certain self-centred introspection and a deep melancholy, etched on his lined and grizzled features. Because he became a leading film actor in his 50s, he seems never to have been young.

His work with Bergman dated back to the 1940s, when they were at the Municipal theatre, Helsingborg. They then worked together at Gothenburg Municipal theatre and the Royal Dramatic theatre, Stockholm, where he took over from Bergman as artistic director in 1966.

Josephson was born in Stockholm into a cultured family (his father owned a bookshop). He studied at the university there before taking up acting. "I am of the international upper class, the Swedish petit bourgeoisie of Jewish extraction with poor language skills, a conveyor of a few expressions and faces, with some intonation that combines ancient human experience with timely coquetry," he once said.

He made his screen debut in Bergman's second film as director, It Rains on Our Love (1946). His first substantial role for Bergman was one of the three husbands waiting in a maternity ward in So Close to Life (1958). In The Magician (aka The Face, 1958), he looks surprisingly youthful as a weak-willed, cuckolded consul who humiliates and interrogates a troupe of performers.

It was 10 years before he returned to making films. He played a sinister baron in Hour of the Wolf (1968) and an unhappily married man in The Passion of Anna (1969), playing second male lead (to Von Sydow) in both. This would change in 1973 with Scenes from a Marriage, a six-part TV series edited down to 168 minutes for cinematic release. The film, an acting tour de force played largely in close-up, focuses on the trauma of a beleaguered marriage, as the wife (Ullmann) tries to cope with the infidelity of her husband (Josephson) with a younger woman (Bibi Andersson). He co-starred with Ullmann again in Face to Face (1976), as a sympathetic doctor who rescues her from a nervous breakdown.

Meanwhile, he began appearing, less happily, in films by other directors. He was a febrile Nietzsche in Liliana Cavani's preposterous Beyond Good and Evil (1977); an opera-loving gay man in To Forget Venice (1979); a chauvinist in Montenegro (1981); and a former ambassador hovering in bars in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988).

There were better roles, especially in Tarkovsky's last films, Nostalgia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), proving that few actors could more convincingly express modern angst than Josephson. In the former, he believes that the end of the world is nigh (although the end of the film never seems near). In the latter, at the start of a nuclear war, he is a writer who makes a pact with God that he will renounce his family and possessions if the world is allowed to return to normal.

In contrast, he demonstrated great warmth in Fanny and Alexander (1982), one of Bergman's most optimistic films, and was lively and lovable in Angelopoulos's Ulysses' Gaze (1995). "In Bergman's world I represented a sort of intellectual, sceptical, ironic person, rather cold and frustrated," he said. "When I went abroad and made films in Italy and other places, I was used in different ways. I was often cast as crazy people … I think perhaps that changed how Ingmar saw me. Suddenly I was on the more magical side of his world, playing the people with fantasies, variety, the artists."

Josephson starred in Bergman's television dramas as the director's alter ego, Vogler. Bergman directed him on stage in A Doll's House (1989), The Bacchae (1996), The Ghost Sonata (2000) and Mary Stuart (2000). In 1988, he gave a vital, engaged performance in English as Gaev in Peter Brook's production of The Cherry Orchard in New York.

It was inevitable and fitting that Josephson should have appeared in Bergman's last work, Saraband (2003), which follows the couple from Scenes from a Marriage long after their divorce. In a prologue, 10 scenes and an epilogue, featuring four speaking characters, Bergman's rapport with Josephson is at its height.

As well as teaching drama and chairing many theatrical institutions (he was active in Swedish Equity), Josephson wrote novels, stories, plays, scripts and poems. He was married to the actors Kristina Adolphson and Barbro Larsson, and is survived by his five children and his wife, the dramaturge Ulla Åberg.

"Erland Josephson dies at 88; Swedish actor, Bergman collaborator"

Erland Josephson, the Swedish actor who collaborated with his friend Ingmar Bergman on such films as 'Scenes From a Marriage' and 'Cries and Whispers,' dies at 88.

February 27th, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Swedish actor Erland Josephson, one of fabled director Ingmar Bergman's closest friends and collaborators, known for his portrayals of aloof intellectuals and often Bergman's alter ego in such celebrated films as "Scenes From a Marriage" and "Cries and Whispers," died at a Stockholm hospital Saturday. He was 88.

His death from Parkinson's disease was announced by a spokeswoman for Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theater, which the actor headed from 1966 to 1975.

Josephson was one of Bergman's favorite actors and longest-running collaborator, appearing in more than a dozen Bergman movies, including the director's first film in 1946 ("It Rains on Our Love") and his last, in 2003 ("Saraband").

In "Faithless," a 2000 movie written by Bergman and directed by his former lover and leading lady Liv Ullmann, Josephson's character — an aging director visited by the spirit of an actress he once loved — is even named Bergman.

"To make movies with Ingmar has been one of life's great pleasures," the actor, who won several Swedish film prizes, told The Times in 1985.

Josephson was born in Stockholm on June 15, 1923, into a family of artists and intellectuals who were descended from Sweden's first Jewish settlers. His father owned a famous bookstore that was one of Stockholm's intellectual hubs.

Interested in acting as a youth, Josephson was just 16 when he participated in the play "The Merchant of Venice," directed by Bergman. He had no formal acting education but continued to appear in several Bergman stage plays in the 1940s and 50s, and received a minor part in "It Rains on Our Love."

For the first two decades of his career, he considered himself a stage actor even though he had appeared in a half a dozen Bergman films during that time. Among the films he made with the director during that time were "The Magician" (1958), "Hour of the Wolf" (1968) and "The Passion of Anna" (1969).

His passion for film acting began with "Cries and Whispers," the 1972 film that proved a commercial breakthrough for both Bergman and Josephson.

Made as a six-part television movie in Sweden, it starred Ullmann as a dying woman; Josephson was a doctor.

"I was not interested in film acting until 'Cries and Whispers,' when I suddenly got something from it I had not gotten before," Josephson told the New York Times in 1988. "And when Bergman saw Liv Ullmann and I work together in that, he saw that we gave something to each other, and he started to write 'Scenes from a Marriage' because of it."

In "Scenes," Bergman's 1973 masterpiece chronicling the dissolution of a marriage, Josephson plays the unfaithful scientist-husband of Ullmann, a lawyer. It turned Josephson into an international star. His portrayal of Johan won high praise from critics, including The Times' Charles Champlin, who said Josephson offered "a rending study of a man in painful change."

After that, he received offers to appear in many international film productions. He played Friedrich Nietzsche in Italian director Liliana Cavani's 1977 "Beyond Good and Evil." He appeared in Philip Kaufman's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988) and made memorable performances in Andrey Tarkovskiy's "Nostalghia" (1983) and "The Sacrifice" (1986).

Among his later films for Bergman was "Fanny and Alexander" (1982), a family saga in which Josephson, in a departure from his previous roles as philanderers and other unpleasant types, rescues two children from an abusive bishop. In "Saraband," a sequel to "Scenes from a Marriage," he and Ullmann reprise their roles as the feuding couple years after divorcing.

He made his American stage debut in 1988 in director Peter Brooks' New York production of "The Cherry Orchard," for which he received the Off-Broadway Theater Award for best performance for his role as Gaev.

Also known in Sweden as a prolific writer, Josephson wrote novels, poetry and more than 30 scripts for stage, radio and television. He succeeded Bergman as artistic director the Royal Dramatic Theatre in 1966 and was director of the Swedish Film Institute in the 1990s.

Married and divorced several times, Josephson is survived by his wife, Ulla Aberg, and five children.

"Erland Josephson, Actor With Bergman, Dies at 88"


Dennis Lim

February 27th, 2012

The New York Times

Erland Josephson, a Swedish actor who worked frequently with Ingmar Bergman on stage and screen, most notably as the star of the acclaimed 1973 film “Scenes From a Marriage,” died on Saturday in Stockholm. He was 88.

His death was announced by a spokeswoman for Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theater, where Mr. Josephson had been director from 1966 to 1975. The spokeswoman said he had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Josephson combined physical stature and emotional depth in his best-known roles. Among the most prominent members of Bergman’s repertory company, alongside Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann — his co-star in “Scenes From a Marriage” and many other films — he was also the director’s longest-running collaborator. He succeeded Mr. von Sydow as Bergman’s male lead of choice in the 1970s, but the two men’s partnership and friendship had begun long before that, in the 1930s, when they were both theater-besotted young men, and continued until Bergman’s final film, “Saraband,” in 2003.

Mr. Josephson was born on June 15, 1923, in Stockholm, into a family with a strong cultural tradition. His ancestors and relatives included a composer, a painter and a theater director who had worked with August Strindberg, and his father owned a bookstore, where the teenage Ingmar Bergman got his first break when a sales clerk invited him to direct an amateur theater troupe.

Mr. Josephson is survived by his wife, Ulla Aberg, and five children.

His stage and screen career is inextricably entwined with Bergman’s. In the 1940s Bergman directed Mr. Josephson in municipal stage productions in Helsingborg and Gothenburg; his first screen appearance was in Bergman’s second film, “It Rains on Our Love” (1946). He was a co-writer of two screenplays with Bergman in the 1960s, and succeeded Bergman as the director of the Royal Dramatic Theater in 1966.

After secondary roles in films like “The Magician” (1958) and “Hour of the Wolf” (1968), Mr. Josephson, already about 50, graduated to leading man in “Scenes From a Marriage,” Bergman’s harrowing study of a marital battleground. With his capacity for conveying both inner turmoil and a searching intelligence, he often played frustrated intellectuals and men of reason in Bergman films: a prickly scientist in “Scenes”; a psychiatrist coping with his wife’s mental illness in “Face to Face” (1976, again with Ms. Ullmann); and a controlling theater director in “After the Rehearsal” (1984).

Unlike Mr. von Sydow, Mr. Josephson never attempted a Hollywood career. But he became a familiar face in art films with a European twist, which often called for him to serve as a bearded, grizzled emblem of Bergmanesque gravitas. He played Friedrich Nietzsche in Liliana Cavani’s “Beyond Good and Evil” (1977) and also appeared in Dusan Makavejev’s “Montenegro” (1981), Philip Kaufman’s “Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988), Peter Greenaway’s “Prospero’s Books” (1991) and Theo Angelopoulos’s “Ulysses’ Gaze” (1996).

Apart from Bergman, the director with whom Mr. Josephson had the most fruitful collaboration was the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Mr. Josephson starred in Mr. Tarkovsky’s last two films, “Nostalgia” (1983) and “The Sacrifice” (1986). In “The Sacrifice,” he delivered a performance distinguished by several stark, anguished monologues as an atheist professor who strikes a panicked deal with God to ensure the survival of the human race as a nuclear war breaks out.

Mr. Josephson also wrote several plays, novels and memoirs and directed the film “Marmalade Revolution” (1980). As a fellow writer and director, and a lifelong friend, he often spoke perceptively about Bergman’s work. “A man obsessed with failure has succeeded better than others in portraying it,” Mr. Josephson once wrote. “This could be referred to as the Bergman vaccination method.”Link
If anything, his association with Bergman grew closer over time. He appeared in Bergman’s final theatrical productions, including “The Ghost Sonata” and “Mary Stuart,” and in old age seemed to embrace the role of alter ego even more fully. In “Saraband,” Mr. Josephson and Ms. Ullmann reprised their roles from “Scenes From a Marriage.” And in “Faithless” (2000), directed by Ms. Ullmann from a Bergman script, Mr. Josephson played a writer named Bergman.

Erland Josephson [Wikipedia]

Deceased--Gunnar Fischer

Ingmar Bergman and the "three o'clock" movie

Film maker on film maker...Martin Scorsese on Ingmar Bergman

A Bergman satirical short..."De Düva"

The end comes for all, but there are questions

"Det sjunde inseglet"--"Spirit In The Sky"

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