Three Gayish Movies By Ingmar Bergman

4.24.2013

By Out.com Editors

None have happy endings for the homosexual.

Ingmar Bergman wasn't from Stockholm, but certainly the film director's work is some of the most famous, well-known, widely imported art to come out of Sweden in — until The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo hit the stands, at least. As we celebrate this city, known by some as "The Oak," and those who have passed through it, here are three of his movies that address, either tacitly or explicitly, the homosexual, a character that was at that point in cinematic history just a caricature, often one tragic, violent or both.

1. Persona, 1966:

Something of a Single White Female story, Persona follows nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) as she cares for Elisabet (Liv Ullmann), an actress who's suffered a nervous breakdown. The two become intensely, uncomfortably (for both the time of its release and the characters' fictional sanity) intimate. They become so close in fact that Alma essentially replaces Elisabet. There's no explicit lesbianism here, but the subtext's so strong that there's no need to spell it out.

Above, the film's official trailer.

2. Face-to-Face, 1976:

A decade after Persona hit the screens, Bergman again turned his attention to mental health, again asking actress 

Liv Ullmann to lose her shit, this time in the form of a crumbling Dr. Jenny Isaksson. The good doctor hopes to find comfort in fellow doctor Tomas Jacobi, played by Erland Josephson, but he has eyes for his fellow men. Sadly, Dr. Jenny suffers the emotional consequences.

Above, Ullmann and Josephson discuss an always fun topic, emotional blockages.

3. From The Life Of Marionettes, 1980:

Not set in Sweden, or even filmed there, From the Life of Marionettes concerns the crumbling relationship of Katarina and Peter Egermann the couple from Bergman's earlier Scenes from a Marriage. Things have not progressed well, particularly for Peter, whose shrink suggests may be gay. Peter eventually turned to prostitutes and murder, embracing a violence many at the time thought was easily within a gay person's reach. Elsewhere in the movie, Tim, wife Katarina's pal, is more in touch with his same-sex desires, though no less discontent.

Above, Peter describes an erotic dream.

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