best film: Persona is Ullmann’s best film as I think it’s Bergman’s greatest (and she isn’t in Seventh Seal which I think is probably the best closest). But, don’t sleep on Cries and Whispers. It’s a monster of a film from Bergman and proof that he is as good with color as any director in the history of the art form. It’s a top 100 all-time for me and Ullmann is on absolute fire in it (in a good way).  Persona has searing images and an enigmatic voice to it that simply can’t be topped by her (or his if you’re talking about Bergman) other work. That’s so much quality in her second and third tier with Shame, Scenes from a Marriage and Hour of the Wolf.

best performance:  Persona but there’s very little separating Ullmann’s best with say her 7th best performance. I just think she gives Bergman and the film an edge that the film would not have with any other actor in the world (or one of the others in the Bergman stable of actresses (mainly the Andersson’s)). She’s mute, she transformers—certainly not a safe performance.

stylistic innovations/traits: Ullmann is perfect for Persona’s duality and doppelganger because she had such great range. The film has had imitators and appreciators throughout history (including Waits in Mulholland) but Ullmann is always the standard. Ullmann’s face is the crux of much of Bergman’s cinema. Black and white, color, mad crazy, outgoing, pensive it didn’t really matter. She proved she could do it without Bergman in The Emigrants.

directors worked with:  Bergman (9).  She has 11 films in the archives and 9 are with Bergman. Bergman was simply one of the best 5-6 auteurs of all-time and he loved dialogue, close-ups, and working with actors (more so than Kubrick or Hitchcock who are two of the auteurs I have ranked ahead of Bergman).  I think their pairing is more crucial than his with Von Sydow (though I may regret that) and they also had 9 archiveable films together.

Top 10 Performances:

  1. Persona
  2. Scenes From a Marriage
  3. The Passion of Anna
  4. Cries and Whispers
  5. Shame
  6. The Emigrants
  7. Face to Face
  8. Hour of the Wolf
  9. Saraband
  10. Autumn Sonata

Archiveable films

1966- Persona
1968- Hour of the Wolf
1968- Shame
1969- The Passion of Anna
1971- The Emigrants
1972- Cries and Whispers
1973- Scenes From a Marriage
1976- Face to Face
1977- A Bridge Too Far
1978- Autumn Sonata
2003- Saraband