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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Film world mourns Bergman's loss
Ingmar Bergman
Bergman was one of the foremost film-makers of the 20th Century
Luminaries from the world of cinema have paid tribute to film-maker Ingmar Bergman, who has died at the age of 89.

Director Woody Allen called the Swede, whose career spanned 60 years, "the greatest film artist of my lifetime".

British director Lord Attenborough, who is also president of Bafta, said: "The world has lost one of its very greatest film-makers."

Bergman, whose intense films included Wild Strawberries, was personally nominated for nine Oscars.

'Pioneer of genius'

Three of his productions won the Academy Award for best foreign language film.

Allen continued his tribute with an observation about Bergman's occasionally gloomy demeanour, saying: "He told me that he was afraid that he would die on a very, very sunny day.

"I can only hope it was overcast and he got the weather he wanted."

It is impossible for anyone of my generation not to have been influenced by Bergman
Paul Schrader
Director and screenwriter

Michael Apted, head of the Directors Guild of America, who awarded Bergman a lifetime honour in 1990, called him "the epitome of a director's director".

Apted added that Bergman had created "beautiful, complex and smart films that imprinted permanently into the psyche".

Gilles Jacob, the director of the Cannes Film Festival, said: "Modern cinema has lost one of its last pioneers, a pioneer of genius."

Writing in The Independent newspaper, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull screenwriter Paul Schrader said: "Bergman made film-making a serious and introspective enterprise. No-one had been able to pull that off until he showed up.

"It is impossible for anyone of my generation not to have been influenced by Bergman. He cut too wide a path down the history of cinema not to influence everybody."

'Immortal pieces'

Actor Max Von Sydow, who appeared in 11 of Bergman's films, said: "No-one counted for me as much as Ingmar Bergman," adding of his "immense gratitude" to have worked with him and been his friend.

British film director Ken Russell told the BBC: "He was probably the greatest film maker," describing him as a "very gloomy Swede".

Ingmar Bergman in the 1960s
Bergman won his first Oscar for best foreign film in 1961

Astrid Soderbergh Widding, president of The Ingmar Bergman Foundation, said: "It's an unbelievable loss for Sweden, but even more so internationally."

"He could hardly bear to watch his own movies, apparently they made him so miserable," he said. "To have done 50 films with such a variety of misery is quite an achievement."

In Sweden, flags were lowered to half-mast and television schedules were changed to air documentaries about his life and to screen some of his works.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: "His pieces are immortal. I think it is difficult to understand his enormous contribution to the Swedish film industry."

According to the TT news agency, Bergman died peacefully on Faro Island - or Sheep Island - in the Baltic Sea. The director had settled there after using it as a location for several films.

HAVE YOUR SAY
His films are a towering artistic achievement
Mark, Arizona, US

Bergman had five marriages and eight children, and his work often explored the tensions between married couples.

He once said: "My pictures are always part of my thinking, and my emotions, tensions, dreams, desires. Sometimes they appear from the past, sometimes they grow up from my present life."

But Bergman confessed in 2004 that he could not bear to watch his own films because they made him depressed.

"I become so jittery and ready to cry... and miserable," he said. "I think it's awful," he said in a rare interview on Swedish TV.


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Woody Allen says Bergman was a 'film artist'



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