Bibi Andersson obituary

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Actor of enormous depth and intricacy known for her capacities in the movie of Ingmar Bergman

It is often the fate of any actor who worked regularly for the illustrious Swedish director Ingmar Bergman to be feted, above all, for that association. Among this upper-class ensemble, Bibi Andersson, who has died aged 83, appeared in 10 the characteristics and three video films by Bergman, which included such masterpieces as The Seventh Seal( 1957 ), Wild Strawberries( 1957) and Persona( 1966 ).

With Persona, Andersson became internationally recognised as a musician capable of enormous penetration and intricacy. Playing Nurse Alma, taking care of Elizabet Vogler( Liv Ullmann ), a far-famed actor stricken with psychosomatic loss of speech, at a remote seaside bungalow, Andersson has to deliver most of the dialogue of the movie. The spiritual affliction is written on the features of the two produces as they begin to understand one another and exchange identities.

With this film, the female face in close-up became Bergman’s main field of vision, and Andersson was an important part of that vision.

Born in Stockholm, the daughter of Josef Andersson, a businessman, and Karin( nee Mansson ), a social worker, Andersson first satisfied Bergman while she was still at school, when she appeared in one of the soap commercials he made in the early 1950 s. She played a princess who has to give a swineherd 100 kiss in return for a barroom of soap.

While studying at the Royal Dramatic Theatre school in the Swedish capital, she began her screen occupation in 1953 in “fresh-faced girl” personas. At first, Bergman, for whom she had appeared for a few minutes on stagecoach in the theater incident in Smiles of a Summer Night( 1955 ), used her carefree persona to play a strolling player, Mia, the dedicated bride of the child-like juggler, in The Seventh Seal. Andersson delivers glamour and glisten into plague-ridden 14 th-century Europe, acting wildernes strawberries( symbolising the coming of springtime) to the errant cavalier( Max von Sydow ).

Bibi Andersson with Per Sjostrand in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, 1957. Photograph: Rex Facet

In Wild Strawberries, she again projected youthful hope and innocence in a doubled role, the cousin of the aged prof( Victor Sjostrom ), whom he wished to marry( considered to be in flashback ), but lost to his brother, and a glad hitchhiker who reminds him of his lost love.

Andersson, Ingrid Thulin and Eva Dahlbeck shared the best actress prize at the 1958 Cannes film festival for So Close to Life( aka Brink of Life) set in a maternity ward. Mothers-to-be or not to be is the question in Bergman’s clinical, pessimistic film, with Andersson again providing some lighter as an unmarried young woman who decides to keep her child.

She did not have too much to do as a giggly servant girl in The Magician( aka The Face, 1958 ), but was central to Bergman’s metaphysical comedy The Devil’s Eye( 1960) as Virtue, the virginal daughter of a country parson.

After she played one of a cellist’s harem of mistresses in Bergman’s strained comedy Now About These Females( aka All These Women, 1964 ), her mentor finally made Andersson a role is worth her endowment as the talkative harbour in Persona.

Bibi Andersson with James Garner in the western Duel at Diablo, 1966. Photograph: Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

” When I spoke Persona I wasn’t flattered. I didn’t understand why I had to play this sort of insecure, strong personality when I was struggling so hard to be sure of myself and to cover up my dangers ,” Andersson told American Film magazine in 1977.” I realised that he[ Bergman] was totally aware of my personality. I was better off just trying to deliver that. It’s a good way to know oneself. Sometimes I speculate creators instinctively are very good analysts. I also think all parts have to be based on oneself, otherwise they will never come across .”

Persona was followed by A Passion( aka The Passion of Anna, 1969) in which she had her first chance to use her virility in a Bergman film as an unhappily married middle-class woman who persuasions a reclusive mortal( Von Sydow) while call a remote island.

In The Touch( 1971 ), Bergman’s first English-language cinema, Andersson is a married woman with two children, who has an affair with a inspecting American archaeologist( Elliott Gould ). Reviewing the film, Molly Haskell in the Village Voice copied:” The evolution of Bibi Andersson under Bergman has been nothing short of marvellous: from simple, uncomplicated and shallow to simple, uncomplicated and deep. Her beautiful, once-blank face now mirrors the acquired profundity of her generous feeling, her mental health having become an asset. But if she is the simplest and least neurotic of Bergman’s dames, she is also the strongest and most adult .”

The Touch was to be the last time she worked with Bergman on a film, apart from a small role in one episode of Scenes From a Marriage( 1973 ), a six-part series shaped for television. Nonetheless, they were later reunited in the theatre when he led her in the Royal Dramatic theatre’s makes of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt( 1993) and as Paulina in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale( 1995 ), both performed under the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Parallel to her long association with Bergman, Andersson had a busy and varied international busines in cinemas, television and on stage. Nevertheless, Bergman’s shadow hung over many of her Swedish cinemas in the 60 s.

He plied the screenplay for The Pleasure Garden( 1961 ), directed by Alf Kjellin, a parody on small-town morality, with Andersson gazing dazing in colour. Vilgot Sjoman, for whom she made two films, was a Bergman protege. They were The Mistress( 1962 ), for which Andersson, as a woman in love with a soul( Von Sydow) who refuses to leave his wife, won the best actress prize in Berlin, and My Sister My Love( 1966 ), a gloomy Bergmanesque study of incest. In Mai Zetterling‘s The Girls( 1968 ), a heartfelt feminist decency anecdote about actors analysing their attitudes to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Andersson resulted a shed made up almost entirely of Bergman regulars.

Bibi Andersson with Ingmar Bergman on the determine of the Swedish TV show Here is Their own lives, in Malmo, Sweden, 1988. Photograph: Rex/ Shutterstock

Andersson was fluent in English and starred in several American movies, though as a rather homogenised form of herself, whether as a woman captured by the Apache beings in the patchy western Duel at Diablo( 1966) or a Russian sleuth in John Huston’s tepid cold war saga The Kremlin Letter( 1970 ).

She was a sympathetic therapist in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden( 1977 ), the long-suffering wife of Steve McQueen as Doctor Stockmann, behind a thick-witted beard and glass, in An Enemy of the People( 1978 ), based on Arthur Miller‘s version of the Ibsen drama, and a French hooker in The Concorde- Airport’ 79( 1979 ). In Robert Altman‘s mysterious story Quintet( 1979 ), Andersson, according to Pauline Kael,” does wonders in a speech about a daydream … for a moment, we have the illusion of being involved in the movie “.

In later years she became involved in peace and feminist questions, while continuing her work on stage and screen in Sweden, winning the last of her four Guldbagge bestows( the Swedish equivalent to Baftas) for her character as the brutal abbess in Arn: The Knight Templar( 2007 ). In 2009 she suffered material stroke.

Andersson is existed by her third partner, Gabriel Mora Baeza, whom she married in 2004, and a daughter, Jenny, from her first wedlock, to Kjell Grede, which was concluded in divorce.

* Bibi Andersson( Berit Elisabeth Andersson ), actor, endure 11 November 1935; died 14 April 2019

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