Ingmar Bergman – The Writer

ORIGINAL TITLE: Författaren Ingmar Bergman

AUTHOR: Jan Holmberg


GENRE: Non-fiction

The entire world knows of the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. But how many know that his manuscripts resembled novellas, rather than ordinary screenplays? How many are aware that he spent his days and nights writing: screenplays, journals, novels, notes scribbled on walls, bedside tables or just about anywhere when he didn’t have a notebook at hand?

When James Wood, Britain’s premier literary critic, recently asserted that Ingmar Bergman ought to receive the Nobel Prize for literature, we can better comprehend that there are treasures still waiting to be found. A lot has been written about Bergman, but Jan Holmberg is the first to entirely focus on Ingmar Bergman the author. The Author Ingmar Bergman is personal, accessible and allows us to discover new artistic depths in one of the world’s foremost film icons.



"Bergman was an unwilling author, who wrote eagerly and with great joy for self-expression. In other words, his relationship to writing appears to have been as contradictory as that which sprung from his hands. In his book, Jan Holmberg commendably captures this tension at the heart of Bergman’s authorship. It is a welcome and necessary contribution to the already rich literature on Bergman."

Svenska Dagbladet

"Holmberg’s portrayal is ceaselessly interesting, for many reasons. For one, he is a talented writer himself, with great knowledge of his subject. Secondly, Ingmar Bergman is a character that continues to fascinate, and is likely to do so for many years to come."


"In his pioneering work, Ingmar Bergman, Author, Jan Holmberg focuses on the writing. The book has unique qualities and is characterized by a contagious joy for reading.

The access to and familiarity with Bergman’s archive is a unique quality, which makes Ingmar Bergman, Author a welcome addition to the already heavy shelf of literature on Bergman.

Jan Holmberg convincingly argues that Bergman was more interested in artistic truth than harsh reality, and in some of the book’s most fascinating passages he demonstrates how statements, expressions and images wander between Bergman’s private notes and his published fictional and autobiographical works, and how the three mutually influence one another.

However, the great merit of Ingmar Bergman, Author is the contagious desire for reading that characterizes Holmberg’s argument. The combination of unromantic objectivity, elegant irony, and barely concealed admiration offers a stimulating journey through the bergmanian text production. Like few other film makers, Ingmar Bergman created an utterly distinctive cinematic world, and a diversity of maps is needed in order to explore this fluctuating topography. Jan Holmberg’s ambitious atlas is both beautiful and useful."

Dagens Nyheter