Monday, February 27, 2012

Erland Josephson

The New York Times Obit: Erland Josephson, Actor With Bergman, Dies at 88

Erland Josephson, a Swedish actor who worked frequently with Ingmar Bergman on stage and screen, most notably as the star of the acclaimed 1973 film “Scenes From a Marriage,” died on Saturday in Stockholm. He was 88.

Mr. Josephson combined physical stature and emotional depth in his best-known roles. Among the most prominent members of Bergman’s repertory company, alongside Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann — his co-star in “Scenes From a Marriage” and many other films — he was also the director’s longest-running collaborator. He succeeded Mr. von Sydow as Bergman’s male lead of choice in the 1970s, but the two men’s partnership and friendship had begun long before that, in the 1930s, when they were both theater-besotted young men, and continued until Bergman’s final film, “Saraband,” in 2003.

Mr. Josephson was born on June 15, 1923, in Stockholm, into a family with a strong cultural tradition. His ancestors and relatives included a composer, a painter and a theater director who had worked with August Strindberg, and his father owned a bookstore, where the teenage Ingmar Bergman got his first break when a sales clerk invited him to direct an amateur theater troupe.

Mr. Josephson is survived by his wife, Ulla Aberg, and five children.

More here.


Josephson was one of Bergman's favorite actors and longest-running collaborator, appearing in more than a dozen Bergman movies, including the director's first film in 1946 ("It Rains on Our Love") and his last, in 2003 ("Saraband").

In "Faithless," a 2000 movie written by Bergman and directed by his former lover and leading lady Liv Ullmann, Josephson's character — an aging director visited by the spirit of an actress he once loved — is even named Bergman.

"To make movies with Ingmar has been one of life's great pleasures," the actor, who won several Swedish film prizes, told The Times in 1985.

More here.

"Swedish actor Erland Josephson, who collaborated with legendary film director Ingmar Bergman in more than 40 films and plays, has died," reports the AP. He was 88. "Josephson was born in Stockholm in 1923 and met Bergman while training as an amateur actor at 16. He appeared in several Bergman plays and films. He shot to international stardom with the role of Johan in Berman's film Scenes from a Marriage, in 1973. Josephson also starred in Andrey Tarkovskiy's films Nostalghia [1983] and The Sacrifice [1986]."

"It is Josephson's face which makes him so effective on film," reads his entry in the International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, "that bearlike aspect, his ability to look lost and forlorn, to convey a sense of suffering and bewilderment, in spite of his bluff exterior. Were one to repeat Kuleshov's famous experiment of the 1920s and to intercut the same shot of Josephson with images of joy, of sadness, of anger, of hunger, the audience would find the Swedish actor, even though he had not moved a muscle, wondrously expressive, capable of embodying every emotion just through 'being there,' in front of the cameras. Nevertheless, he has the rare ability to combine a capacity for rage — for the grand gesture on the blasted heath — with a more subtle skill for understatement and comedy."

More on Erland Josephson at Mubi.

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