Suzanne Osten to film a newly discovered script by Ingmar Bergman
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Having already readied the work for a radio play, Osten will also adapt it for a film, painting a feminist portrait of Rebecka, a teacher working at an institution for the hard of hearing
Swedish director Suzanne Osten will film an until-now unknown script by Swedish legend Ingmar Bergman, Sixty-four Minutes with Rebecka, which was discovered in the Bergman archives, which he gave to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, now based on his home island of Fårö.
“Suddenly, this handwritten screenplay was there, right before my eyes, dated 'Fårö, 7 August 1969', and very rare,” said the foundation’s managing director, Jan Holmberg. “Firstly, it was a finished manuscript, of extremely high quality, on a par with the best that Bergman has done. It was also exciting because, besides the traditional Bergman themes – such as problems of communication – it included a mood of political rebellion, women’s liberation, even violent sex scenes, in this portrait of Rebecka, a teacher working at an institution for the hearing-impaired.”
According to Sweden’s DN, Sixty-four Minutes with Rebecka was originally intended to be Bergman’s contribution to a partnership with Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and Italian director Federico Fellini, but the project fizzled out, and it ended up being tucked away in the drawer.
Osten, who most recently directed The Girl, the Mother and the Demons (2016) after a ten-year absence from cinema, has adapted the drama for a radio play, which will be world-premiered on 6 November by Swedish pubcaster SR P1 Drama. She will then adapt it for the film, slated to open in 2018.
“This is the only script where Bergman is actually a feminist. He has always had strong women in his films, but here he goes one step further,” said Osten, who has otherwise never been a supporter of the director or his work. “But this is an incredibly bold, complex and radical story.”
Meanwhile, German director Margarethe von Trotta and her son, Felix Moeller, who has made several historical documentaries, are planning a personal portrait of Bergman, who was the person who made her choose film as a profession. This movie will also be premiered as part of the festivities for the centenary of his birth.
As a student of Literature, von Trotta immediately fell in love with cinema during a visit to Paris, where she saw his 1957 fantasy-drama The Seventh Seal at the Champollion Theatre in the Latin Quarter. During his exile in Munich from 1976-1985, they developed their acquaintance.
According to DN, her documentary will be produced by Benjamin Seikel for Germany’s C-Films, and it will include interviews with international directors and actors as well as his longtime Swedish collaborators. Bergman once named von Trotta’s The German Sisters (1981) one of his favourite films.
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