Liv Ullmann

Intelligence of the heart 

Posted on October 15, 2018


The grand Norwegian actress, guest of honor of the 10th edition, shared her memories on Sunday at the Comédie Odéon during a master class that proved luminous and lively, a reflection of herself. Highlights.


Laughing with Bergman

Being on set with Bergman was a joyful moment, a happy moment, a moment of laughter. We would laugh enormously during filming. When I directed ‘Faithless,’ he was not authorized to step on set, but asked, ‘May I come on the last day?’ It was being shot in a hotel room, an argument scene between Lena Endre and her husband. He arrived at lunchtime, and he was so childish, he said, ‘I’ll hide under the covers, that way they’ll never see me.’ And if you watch the film, look closely, the couple is laughing because Bergman was tucked in bed with them!



Liv Ullmann découvre sa plaque sur le « Wall of Fame » de l’Institut Lumière le 14 octobre 2018 © Institut Lumière / Jean-Luc Mège


Filming with Bergman

Ingmar would never tell his actors, ‘Here is what you should feel, this is how you should be, this is what you should look like…’ Only bad directors do that. But he would give us a fabulous script, with wonderful lines, and he would stand next to the camera and watch us create. A good filmmaker lets his actors become their characters.


Several lives in one

I had made many films before working with Ingmar… I’ve also been in Swedish films like ‘The Emigrants’ by Jan Troell, which brought me to the United States, since I was nominated for an Oscar for that film. They found me so sweet and kind, a stark contrast to the neurotic heroines of Bergman, that they wanted to cast me in all their films and I was a Hollywood star for two years! I made four very Hollywood-style movies, which almost led to two studio closures… After that, I went to Broadway, where I worked in theater, wrote two books and my life changed once again. Then I returned to Norway and shot other films. And about 30 years ago, I began to work with refugees, going to their country of origin and interesting myself in those questions, which was probably the most significant change I’ve had in my life. When you are an actor or director, you take on the role of a spokesperson. Ingmar used to say, ‘I don’t make films to speak to the spirit of people, I make films to speak to their souls. 

Rébecca Frasquet




Categories: Lecture Zen