August 29 marks the 100th anniversary of Ingrid Bergman’s birth, an occasion MoMA will observe with a selection of films from her 50-year career—as chosen and, where possible, introduced by her children Pia Lindstrom, Isabella Rossellini, and Ingrid Rossellini.
The emotional transparency of Bergman’s performing style blended with her great natural beauty to create a different kind of movie star. When she arrived in America, in 1939, to star in a remake of her 1936 Swedish film Intermezzo, the producer David O. Selznick recognized in the 24-year-old a new freshness and accessibility—a radical break with the artificially elaborate notions of “glamor” that had been synonymous with female stars in Hollywood since the late silent era. In films like Casablanca (1942), Gaslight (1944) and Notorious (1946), Bergman seemed to speak directly to her public, cutting through melodramatic conventions.
Bergman’s search for authenticity eventually led to Italy, where she made five features with the pioneering Neorealist director Roberto Rossellini, a body of work now recognized as one of the foundations of modern cinema. After her relationship with Rossellini ended, Bergman continued to work with some of the medium’s most creative filmmakers. Her last theatrical film, Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata (1978), brought her back to her native Sweden.
Organized by Dave Kehr, Adjunct Curator, and Sophie Cavoulacos, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, in memory of Jytte Jensen.