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The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography Hardcover – 19 May 1988

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Hardcover, 19 May 1988
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd (19 May 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241121477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241121474
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,083,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ingmar Bergman is a Swedish filmmaker who has written and directed over fifty films.  He is the recipient of three Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film for The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, and Fanny and Alexander.

 

Joan Tate (1922–2000) was a prolific translator of Swedish works into English.

 

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bernard walsh on 25 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful story; a description of Bergman's life and thoughts in his own words. Chapters are short; offering a vivid account of specific events or periods of his life, loves and film-making that gradually interconnects.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Andre on 7 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
his films are more interesting than his writing.... which is why he is a film director. The ego needed an island.The actors have the rare privilege of a real director.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful autobigraphy. 12 Jun. 2000
By Adriana Villanueva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Magic Lantern is not a page turner. The autobiography of the swedish film director Ingmar Bergman is the kind of book that needs time to be read, not because its boring or too deep, but because its so good so enjoyable and every chapter so wonderful that its a shame to finish it too quickly. The Magic Lantern is the life of Bergman but he hardly writes about his movies, he writes about his childhood, his life in the theater, the women of his life, his relationships with his children, his health, politics... this book will help you understand one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful story of a life 24 Nov. 1997
By njunge@ms.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a moving, candid account of the great director's often turbulent life. It is written the same way that his films are made: full of humor and tender observation. I was deeply touched by it and inspired by his creative spirit.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Sixty years have gone by, but the excitement is still the same" 24 Aug. 2008
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One Christmas, when Ingmar Bergman was 10 years old, a wealthy aunt gave his older brother a magic lantern--a low tech projector. Little Ingmar was overwhelmed by the contraption, and he traded 100 tin soldiers for it from his rather indifferent brother. That night he crept into a closet with the lantern, fired it up, and gazed in wonderment at the images flashed against the closet wall. He was enchanted, and in his memoir, aptly titled after that memorable experience, he tells us that he still is.

The Magic Lantern is as intriguing as Bergman's films. Anyone who has seen his films will immediately appreciate just how many scenes in them are pulled from Bergman's own life--or at least his memories, accurate or not, of his life: the spanking scene in "Fanny and Alexander," the locked-in-a-closet scene in "Hour of the Wolf," the infidelity in "Faithless" (Liv Ullmann directed, but Bergman wrote the script), the death fear in "Seventh Seal," and so on. Bergman truly is a confessional artist. As both writer and director, his personal life, both inner and outer, is the raw material for his films.

The Magic Lantern isn't written in a linear style. Memories of childhood dance with more recent ones--e.g., rehearsing Strindberg's "Dream Play" or being arrested on false charges of tax evasion. What's important for Bergman throughout is his inner life: the incredibly rich psyche that serves as the magic lantern that projects his art into the world, both on the screen and the stage.

Bergman wrote his memoir after he'd "retired." He still had several films ahead of him, including what I think turned out to be one of his best, "Saraband." The themes that haunted him throughout his life, including ones that he thought he'd laid to rest involving God and death, and which he wrote about in The Magic Lantern, remained with him for the final two decades of his life. Like his movies, there is no final resolution. Perhaps that's simply the human condition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Sixty years have gone by, but the excitement is still the same" 31 May 2010
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
One Christmas, when Ingmar Bergman was 10 years old, a wealthy aunt gave his older brother a magic lantern--a low tech projector. Little Ingmar was overwhelmed by the contraption, and he traded 100 tin soldiers for it from his rather indifferent brother. That night he crept into a closet with the lantern, fired it up, and gazed in wonderment at the images flashed against the closet wall. He was enchanted, and in his memoir, aptly titled after that memorable experience, he tells us that he still is.

The Magic Lantern is as intriguing as Bergman's films. Anyone who has seen his films will immediately appreciate just how many scenes in them are pulled from Bergman's own life--or at least his memories, accurate or not, of his life: the spanking scene in "Fanny and Alexander," the locked-in-a-closet scene in "Hour of the Wolf," the infidelity in "Faithless" (Liv Ullmann directed, but Bergman wrote the script), the death fear in "Seventh Seal," and so on. Bergman truly is a confessional artist. As both writer and director, his personal life, both inner and outer, is the raw material for his films.

The Magic Lantern isn't written in a linear style. Memories of childhood dance with more recent ones--e.g., rehearsing Strindberg's "Dream Play" or being arrested on false charges of tax evasion. What's important for Bergman throughout is his inner life: the incredibly rich psyche that serves as the magic lantern that projects his art into the world, both on the screen and the stage.

Bergman wrote his memoir after he'd "retired." He still had several films ahead of him, including what I think turned out to be one of his best, "Saraband." The themes that haunted him throughout his life, including ones that he thought he'd laid to rest involving God and death, and which he wrote about in The Magic Lantern, remained with him for the final two decades of his life. Like his movies, there is no final resolution. Perhaps that's simply the human condition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Magic Lantern is a memoir by Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman 15 Jun. 2009
By C. M Mills - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Woody Allen was asked by Public Radio's Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" what were the movies he had most watched in his life. One of the three he named was Ingmar Bergman's classic "The Seventh Seal." Bergman has exerted a powerful filmic influence on Allen and other directors. He is one of the most important directors in the history of film so all we can learn about him is of importance.
The Magic Lantern is Bergman's autobiography published in 1986. Bergman
(1918-2007) was born to a devout, strict and dour Lutheran clergyman and his wife. The parents were cold with many marital problems and conflicts in their over fifty years of marriage. His father rose to high prominence in the Swedish church hierarchy while the mother became emotionally withdrawn from the marriage. Bergman was loved by his parents but they were strict with him, his brother and sister.
Bergman was a sensitive boy who was plagued by various illnesses. He loved to read, listen to music, walk and watch movies on his magic lantern projector received as a Christmas present.
Bergman attended the University of Stockholm, heiled Hitler while on a visit to a chum in Germany and did not serve in World War II. He rose in the Swedish film industry making such masterpieces of cinema art as "Wild Strawberries"; "Persona"; "The Seventh Sign"; "Scenes from a Marriage; "Autumn Sonata" "Fanny and Alexander" and other films popular in American art h ouses and throughout the world.
Bergman's personal life was a mess! He was married five times; had several childrren and was an unfaithful husband. Bergman was a complex artist who was egocentric and often selfish in his relationships with other human beings. His forbidding childhood in a religious home led to his spiritual rebellion. He was an atheist who was haunted by the austere God of Swedish Lutheran piety. He feared death and was flumoxxed at his inablity to explain it to himself. Bergman's films deal with such themes as death, love, family, isolation and fear. He was a perfectionist who developed the art of film directing to a collaborative art.
Bergman complains too much and in too much detail about his stomach and bowel problems. Does he think we are interested in his gustatory woes? He comes across as a complex, argumentative, intellectual and difficult man to know and love. I do admire him for his honesty and willingness to share his many faults, fears and phobias with the reading audience.
The book is well written evoking the beauties of the Swedish countryside; the mystery of love and death and the poignant memories of his lost childhood. Ingmar Bergman was a great filmmaker, a flawed human being and a seeker to answers for the drama of living life on earth.
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