cover image The Magic Lantern: 2an Autobiography

The Magic Lantern: 2an Autobiography

Ingmar Bergman. Viking Books, $19.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81911-9

Bergman's magic lantern (representing both memory and a toy cinematograph he obtained as a child) swings backward and forward between his early life in Lutheran parsonages and his experiences as an internationally renowned director of films, plays and operas. Ignoring strict chronology, it explores his relations with his parents and older brother, his introduction to the theater, his successes and failures, and his decision (after Fanny and Alexander ) to stop making films. Bergman, having always suffered from a nervous stomach and chronic insomnia, also candidly acknowledges his weaknesses and fears, frightening dreams and bouts of temper, his infatuation with Hitler and Nazism during the 1930s and his obsession with sex, as well as the special, sensual happiness in being a film director. A reader's disappointment over the paltry detail and characterization of Bergman's wives, children and loversand of his filmsis somewhat dissipated by the inclusion of numerous anecdotes about Chaplin, Garbo, Karajan, Olivier and especially Ingrid Bergman, who continued to work on Autumn Sonata while she was dying, and by occasional judgments about fellow practitioners (for example, that Soviet film director Tarkovsky is ``the greatest of them all''). Photos not seen by PW. 40,000 first printing; $35,000 ad/promo; first serial to American Film. (September)