Daniel Bergman was looking for a good scriptwriter for his directorial debut. He wound up with his father, Ingmar. "Sondagsbarn" (Sunday's Child), which Ingmar Bergman wrote about the complicated relationship with his own father, had its premiere last month. (No firm plans have been made yet for U.S. distribution.)
Daniel Bergman, who turned 30 Sept. 7, said it took years for him to venture out of the shadow of his famous movie-making father. Instead of directing movies, the younger Bergman worked as a film technician and produced a few short films."But now, I have quit fighting the fact that I am my father's son," he said. He's the first of Bergman's children to make a movie. A sister, Eva Bergman, is a theater director.
"Sunday's Child" links three generations of Bergmans: the son directing his father's script about Ingmar and his father, Erik.
It's typical of the elder Bergman to seek inspiration from his parents, whose lives he drew upon for many of his 50 films, including "Cries and Whispers" (1973) and "Fanny and Alexander" (1982), which won four Academy Awards.
Last year, "Best Intentions," a six-hour chronicle that Ingmar Bergman wrote about Erik's and his wife Karin's stormy relationship, made its debut on Swedish television.
Danish filmmaker Bille August, whose "Pelle the Conqueror" won the 1989 Oscar for best foreign film, directed the four-part television series.
Ingmar Bergman, 74, once said: "I feel a great need to tell the story of these two people who are in my blood, my nerves and my genes."
Despite his announcement 10 years ago that he was giving up film directing in favor of producing stage plays, Bergman remains the doyen of Scandinavian film.
"Sunday's Child" is about a summer day in 1926 when Erik Bergman, a clergyman, takes the then-8-year-old Ingmar on his bicycle to a church in a neighboring parish. Bergman has little contact with his stern, melancholic father. The ride turns into a small adventure which brings father and son closer. Bergman is played by Henrik Linnros, 9, and the father by Thommy Berggren, one of Sweden's best known actors. Ingmar Bergman mentions the bicycle incident and several other scenes that turn up in the movie in his 1987 autobiography "The Magic Lantern." Daniel Bergman said he had a lot of images in his mind for a movie but lacked a script. One day, when father and son were sitting around the kitchen table in Ingmar Bergman's house on Gotland, a Baltic Sea island, they came up with the idea to team up for a film centered on the bicycle ride. "`OK. Let's do it' we said. And we did it," the son recalled.