best film: Persona. It’s not Björnstrand’s best performance (that one is crystal clear) but I do have it as the best of the 11 films he has in the archives (the same amount of films he made with Bergman). It edges out other Bermgan masterpieces like Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal and Fanny and Alexander.

best performance:   Winter Light. Bjornstrand wasn’t lead in any of the other 10 archiveable films below (again, all with the great Swedish auteur) but when he was lead in one, he slayed it. Professor Thomas Ericsson abuses the woman who loves him and drives Von Sydow’s character to suicide. It’s a Bergman character/dialogue at its most acidic and Björnstrand is on fire for the entire 81 minute running time. It’s an all-time underrated film and performance.

stylistic innovations/traits: He played mostly conservative, pensive men who could come to a boil if provoked. His high-water mark work in Winter Light he played a pastor and it’s a total embodiment of that character. Bjornstrand didn’t get as many overall opportunities in Bergman’s showcase as Ullmann and Von Sydow. It also hurts him a little that he doesn’t have any other archiveable films outside of their work together (both Von Sydow and Ullmann do).

directors worked with:   Bergman (11)—it’s actually more archiveable films together than Ulmann (9) and Von Sydow (9) but again less screen time and juicy roles (Winter Light as the big outlier- he’s mesmerizing there).

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Winter Light
  2. Through a Glass Darkly
  3. The Seventh Seal
  4. The Magician
  5. Wild Strawberries

Archiveable films

1955- Smiles of a Summer Night
1957- The Seventh Seal
1957- Wild Strawberries
1958- The Magician
1961- Through a Glass Darkly
1963- Winter Light
1966- Persona
1968- Shame
1976- Face To Face
1978- Autumn Sonata
1982- Fanny and Alexander