In a rare interview on Swedish television, reclusive director Ingmar Bergman said he hates to watch his own movies.
“I don’t watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry ... and miserable. I think it’s awful,” Bergman said in the one-hour documentary that aired Thursday on public service network SVT.
Bergman’s films include “Smiles of a Summer Night,” “Wild Strawberries,” “Cries and Whispers” and “Fanny and Alexander.”
Interviewed at his home on Faaroe, a desolate island 100 miles southeast of Stockholm, Bergman, 85, described painful memories from his childhood and his fear of death, but also laughed when recalling receiving the French Legion of Honor in 1985.
“When we came out from the Elysee palace there was a gigantic limousine waiting for us and four police on motorcycles,” Bergman said. “It is probably one of the few times I have experienced my fame. I thought it was so fantastic that I laughed to the point of shouting. I laughed so that I fell over on the floor of this big car.”
Although there are several comedies among his more than 50 films, Bergman is mostly known for his gloomy analyses of the human psyche.
“I was terribly scared of death,” Bergman said of his state of mind when making “The Seventh Seal.”
The film contains one of cinema’s most famous scenes — a knight playing chess with the shrouded figure of death. Bergman said he drew inspiration for the scene from a wall painting in a Swedish church.