It’s the most jealously guarded secret in Sweden.
Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman wanted his funeral to be a low-key, private affair and his family, friends and neighbors are doing their utmost to keep it that way.
Bergman died last week at age 89. Since then, his family has said only that there will be a small, closed service on the small island of Faro, where Bergman spent his final years in solitude. No date has been announced.
Faro residents were also keeping mum.
“Even if we knew, we would never say,” said Kerstin Kalstrom, a primary-school teacher who has lived on the island for more than 40 years. “The people of Faro would never, ever leak.”
Bergman died at his home on Faro, just north of the bigger Baltic Sea island of Gotland, on July 30. The director of such classics as “The Seventh Seal” and the Oscar-winning “Fanny and Alexander,” he was remembered around the world as one of the greatest masters of cinema.
Swedish writer Henning Mankell, who is married to Bergman’s daughter Eva, told national media last week that the funeral would be held at the Faro church and administered by the local vicar.
The vicar, Agneta Soderdahl, declined to confirm the information, saying she was bound by a “code of honor” that all Faro residents observe.
Bergman, who lived alone in his island home, often praised his neighbors for the privacy they granted him.
“When people come and ask where Ingmar Bergman lives, they never have any clue,” the director said in a rare TV interview in 2004.
It is widely believed that Bergman’s remains will be buried at a cemetery on Faro, although some Swedish media have speculated he could be buried next to his fifth and last wife, Ingrid von Rosen, who died in 1995. She is buried at a cemetery next to the Roslagsbro church in Norrtalje, on the Swedish mainland northeast of Stockholm.
Ulla Kallberg, a clerk at the church, said Bergman had had his name engraved on von Rosen’s headstone, but that it was unclear whether her remains would be moved to Faro, or if Bergman would join his late wife in Roslagsbro.
“Nothing is known about how his thoughts were on that matter,” Kallberg said.
The Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet said Bergman had left his family written instructions about his funeral. He didn’t want any eulogies or flowers, but choir and cello music, the paper said, citing the director’s son, also called Ingmar.
“We will do our best to follow daddy’s will,” the younger Ingmar Bergman was quoted as saying.
He and other family members did not answer calls Tuesday seeking comment.
Swedish Film Institute spokesman Jan Goranson said he had no information about the funeral, but that the institute would honor Bergman with a series of events and commemorations.
Kalstrom said she and other Faro residents had always treated Bergman as a “normal, ordinary person.”
“He came here because he wanted to be alone. It always upset us when people came to Faro, crawling in the bushes and climbing on his fences to catch a glimpse,” she said. “He was a workaholic and wanted the privacy to be able to work, so we felt he should be left alone.”