December 5, 2016

"Pretty girl, not as pretty as James Bond, maybe prettier than his co-presenter (who was that?)."

Said Bad Lieutenant in the comments to "Patti Smith : Bob Dylan :: Sacheen Littlefeather : Marlon Brando?"

The "co-presenter" of the 1973 Best Actor Oscar was Liv Ullmann. Do people today really not recognize Liv Ullmann?! She was the greatest actress of that time. "Scenes from a Marriage," "Cries and Whispers," "The Emigrants," and "The New Land." Do people not know these movies?

I googled to find something to link to, and I was intrigued to see a 2014 article in The Guardian: "Liv Ullmann on Miss Julie, Donald Trump and why she hates the modern age/Ingmar Bergman’s muse talks about directing a version of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, terrorism and Twitter."

That's 2014, not 2016, so what's up with Donald Trump showing up in a headline alongside Ingmar Bergman and August Strindberg? 
Liv Ullmann likes watching The Apprentice. Or, rather, she likes it when Donald Trump goes in and out of rooms. “I find it tremendously interesting, his entrances and exits. I can’t believe someone is doing this and taking it so seriously! If you made a movie about such a man, you would tell them they were overacting.”
Spend some time thinking about "If you made a movie about such a man, you would tell them they were overacting." It almost a conundrum. You have a larger-than-life character, except he is in life. He's real. Then you want to make a movie about him, and the actor playing him is trying to be exactly like him, but you have to tell him, no, you've got to tone it down, because otherwise you seem like a bad actor. You're going to have to underplay him to preserve this biopic's sense of realism.
It is Trump, she thinks, who is a modern-day Miss Julie – the queen bitch in the August Strindberg play she’s just made into a movie. Both are snoots sneering down from a pedestal of their own construction. “Trump says no to refugees trying to get into US from Mexico. He says it’s all Obama’s fault and he’s given them too much freedom. And he blames him for Ebola coming in from Africa.” Ullmann smiles, gentle and appalled and vulnerable. “If you live in a tunnel, hiding, then people don’t like you and in the end they will come back and kill you. It’s not because he’s evil. It’s that it’s easier for him to be apart than to hold the hand of someone homeless and alone.”
Hey, spoiler alert on "Miss Julie"! Oh. All right. Now, I've got to read the plot summary. Don't worry. Okay, I'm satisfied. Nobody other than Miss Julie kills Miss Julie. Miss Liv is not predicting assassination. Liv is very sensitive:
“That is the sadness of being human today. We still don’t realise that there is no 'other.' We still think we are the audience to everything; we don’t understand we are not witnesses, we are participants. You cannot save the world, I cannot, even Donald Trump cannot. But if we do allow beauty, if we don’t kill movies and concerts and ballets and books we still have a chance.”

57 comments:

David Begley said...

Liv, "Trump says no to refugees trying to get into US from Mexico. He says it’s all Obama’s fault and he’s given them too much freedom. And he blames him for Ebola coming in from Africa."

Those are not refugees coming from Mexico. The President has a constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Ebola did come from Africa.

Liv is a LIV. Sad!

Robert Cook said...

I suspect many Americans would say, "I didn't know Ingrid Bergman directed movies!"

As for Liv Ullman, forget it about Americans knowing who she is. (I work with someone who knows her slightly.)

Quaestor said...

Ullmann, the leading lady of Scandi cinema, former muse and partner to Ingmar Bergman, pinup to a generation...

Pinup? Break me a fucking give.

Many year ago SCTV let the hot air out of Bergman and his miserable pretentious oeuvre in less than nine minutes

Rick said...

Do people today really not recognize Liv Ullmann?! She was the greatest actress of that time.

Never heard of her. The only movie she's in I've seen is A Bridge Too Far where she's listed about 75th in the credits. I've never even heard of the movies you note. Age 46.

Arthur James said...

Beauty is nice, thoughts provoking from philosophy 101. I thought of lines from a poem that call for contemplative action--NOT nonaction. Maybe you know them.

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.

The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

tcrosse said...

As for Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson was not exactly chopped lutefisk, either.

Arthur James said...

Liv is quite a beauty today, nice article.

Quaestor said...

Here's the link to the Bergman deflation: Monster Chiller Horror Theater

Leave it to Cookie to glom onto someone else's faux creds as a means to disparage others and elevate himself. You're pretty damn low, Cook. Humorless, pompous, and wannabe-but-never-were elitist.

Sebastian said...

"Both are snoots sneering down from a pedestal." No. Trump is not a snoot and didn't win by sneering.

Not sure I'd take movie-making advice from a woman who wants to "reclaim" a play from its non-PC author.

And yes, I knew who she was (is!). The stories I could tell.

Arthur James said...

Ending of article on Liv Ullman:

Ullmann apologises. She’s gone off topic, she says. Her eyes are gleaming. She’s made this screamingly mean movie to try to show people how not to behave. People ought to feel bad more than they do, she says, to try to make amends. “If you have a row with your husband and you see them lying down trying to sleep and you see they’re so scared, instead of saying: ‘You have to change or I’ll leave’, you should say: ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.’” When Jesus hung on the cross, he asked forgiveness of the brutes. There’s something that is better than violence. ‘Forgive me’, you should say, even if you have been wronged.”

rhhardin said...

Amazon has never recommended a Liv Ullman dvd. I have a Tracey Ullman one, though. It was a bail-out-early one.

rehajm said...

Do people not know these movies?

Not a one. Wow. Thought I was a cinemagoer.

Project for Christmas week...

Robert Cook said...

"Leave it to Cookie to glom onto someone else's faux creds as a means to disparage others and elevate himself."

Whose "faux creds"? What does that mean?

I don't claim to like Bergman's work; the two films of his I've sat through were tedious affairs, (almost as bad as being sentenced to sit through any part of a football game broadcast). For that, Bergman's fans would surely consider me a philistine. However, I am aware of who he is and who is most famous leading lady was (is). This is just part of being culturally aware. Bergman's heyday is receding into the past, and I suppose there's no reason younger at large today would be familiar with him, which is why my remark is accurate. (In fact, I'd bet more Americans today than not don't even know who Ingrid Bergman was.)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But if we do allow beauty, if we don’t kill movies and concerts and ballets and books we still have a chance.

Is "allowing beauty" a sufficient criteria for us "having a chance?" I'd agree it's probably a necessary condition, but lots of artsy-types seem to imply it's sufficient. Patrons of the Pulse nightclub might disagree (to pick but one example).

traditionalguy said...

At least she says no to censoring great literature to create a Politically Correct Safe Place.

That should get her arrested in Europe for hate speech right there.

Maybe that is why Dylan is not going there.

Arthur James said...

Begrman always delights my heart simply for creating the little carnival family in The Seventh Seal: the delightful fool, his beautiful wife, and large adorable baby. Life can be beautiful amidst the brutality. Must go--enough morning online musing.

Quaestor said...

Surprise, Cookie, Americans know who Liv Ullman is. However, knowing is not caring. Ullman is a name dropped at parties attended by people obsessed with status and the display of same, by people who scorn mere movies, but fawn absurdly over film (i.e. the stuff that collects on stagnant puddles). There is not a single person who would sit through Cries and Whispers if he could not be watched as he watches.

Arthur James said...

Last thought. 'But if we do allow beauty, if we don’t kill movies and concerts and ballets and books we still have a chance.' Beauty and discernment walk hand in hand.

Quaestor said...

(I work with someone who knows her slightly.)

That's a faux cred, but you mayn't have intended it as such.

I apologize for my outburst. Bergman virtual signaling is one of my hot buttons.

Laslo Spatula said...

Ingrid Bergman Unfinished Script “Wheat and Oranges” —Excerpt”

“Olaf, your hand is shaking.”

“It is this cup of tea, Sven. It is this cup of tea.”

“Is the tea not to your liking?”

“It is the weight of the tea, Sven. Tea — it is heavy with memories. Days gone by. People who we will never see again. Snow that falls endlessly behind a fogged window.”

“I understand. I once ate an orange that reminded me of the days after The War.”

“Tea is only truly understood with age. We steep in our years, our failures, our brief glimpses of a World that does not exist. There was a woman, once: I remember. She had hair like harvest wheat.”

“Was it not to be, Olaf? You and this women with the hair of wheat?”

“Even now, the bittersweet is exquisite. I stood on the train platform and watched her leave to Russia. She had one suitcase. All of her life, in one suitcase. I was not in that suitcase: I was no longer part of her life.”

“That is bittersweet, Olaf.”

“I still have a lock of her harvest wheat hair. Her smell is long gone. It is just dead hair, now. It means nothing, yet I cannot bear to part with it.”

“Wheat makes me think of Death. Wheat and oranges.”

“Sven, we have so much in common, yet we will always be separated by the distance of the cold Universe. The more I understand you, the closer I am to dying.”

“The Universe: it has a Cruel Neutrality, Olaf.”

“Yes it does, Sven. Excuse me: I think I shall drink the rest of my tea in meaningful silence.”

“I understand, Olaf. I shall go take a walk in the snow through the barren trees. Perhaps I will lose my way. Perhaps I will freeze to death, not to be found until Spring.”

“If there is to be a Spring, Olaf: if there is to be a Spring…”


I am Laslo.

Jeff Gee said...

Semi-off topic, I guess, but when I was a film student at NYU circa 1975, some of my classmates and I saw Liv Ullman on the street somewhere one spring day. It took us all maybe 30 seconds to register who she was. But we instantly registered that we were looking at someone heart-stoppingly beautiful. (New York in 1975 did not lack for beautiful women). We were 20 feet away and we just stared. She was dressed down, with barely any make-up. The camera caught maybe 40% of what we saw, and she was photographed by some of the best cameramen in the world.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

Beauty and discernment walk hand in hand.

The last sentence of my Art Appreciation 101 term paper at Underachiever Community College.

I got a C.

Roughcoat said...

In the Second World War Sweden and the Swedes vastly enriched themselves in trade (particularly in steel) with Nazi Germany then transitioned into the postwar era to lecture the rest of the world about morality.

Ann Althouse said...

I saw Liv Ullmann in a live theater performance back in the 1970s. It was "A Doll's House." Ibsen, not Strindberg. The co-star was Sam Waterston. Somehow Waterston had managed to break his leg (in real life). So he played his role (as the dominating husband) on crutches. Old fashioned crutches to fit the scenery. But they kept the original blocking, so he was crutching it all over the stage. Funniest performance I've ever seen. It never makes much sense how actors in a play move all over the place, but you don't really notice how unreal it is, because it's conventional. But put the actor on crutches (for no play-connected reason) and it's perfectly silly.

Ann Althouse said...

"Semi-off topic, I guess, but when I was a film student at NYU circa 1975, some of my classmates and I saw Liv Ullman on the street somewhere one spring day. It took us all maybe 30 seconds to register who she was. But we instantly registered that we were looking at someone heart-stoppingly beautiful. (New York in 1975 did not lack for beautiful women). We were 20 feet away and we just stared. She was dressed down, with barely any make-up. The camera caught maybe 40% of what we saw, and she was photographed by some of the best cameramen in the world."

That was the exact year of the Doll's House performance I saw.

Therefore I was one of the women of NYC in the time you speak of. I was 24.

Arthur James said...

Quaestor if it inspired you to criticize it makes me feel good. It really does.

fivewheels said...

Eh, for actresses of that period I'd take Angela Mao any day.

NYT did a decent "Where is she now" writeup last month. Turns out the answer is Queens.


Otto said...

Not sensitive enough : F=ma

Quaestor said...

Quaestor if it inspired you to criticize it makes me feel good. It really does.

You keep writing those treacly bon mots of yours, and I'll keep crackin' wise. You can take umbrage and proclaim your martyrdom, and I'll snicker inanely from the sidelines. It's a win-win deal!

Jeff Gee said...

Therefore I was one of the women of NYC in the time you speak of. I was 24.

If you were living on the 3rd floor of 278 East 10th St., with the granny glasses and the white go-go boots, thank you. Especially for the go-go boots.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you were living on the 3rd floor of 278 East 10th St., with the granny glasses and the white go-go boots, thank you. Especially for the go-go boots."

LOL.

Who wore go-go boots in 1975? Was it the Teri Garr character from "After Hours"?

Mac McConnell said...

In the Ingmar Bergman version of the Apprentice Trump falls asleep at the conference table as he dreams of a naked 15 year old nubile nordic blond girl dancing on a pebble beach.

William said...

There's a not so well known Bergman film, Autumn Sonata, that stars Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullman. It's worth watching, although I'd caution those with abandonment issues or suicidal ideation from viewing it. In the movie, Liv Ullman plays the adult daughter of a famous concert pianist. Liv had been neglected by the mother in her youth. As an adult, she has a chunky figure, clumsy movements, and a plain face. It takes no great skill for a beautiful woman to play an attractive heroine, but you can see how all the pain and rejection of her childhood has accumulated in Ullman's body and face. It's a great performance ......So for that matter is Ingrid's. In most of the scenes, she appears without make up, and these were the years prior to Botox. Makes no difference. The camera still loved her. This was her last screen performance. She had recently been diagnosed with the cancer that would kill her........In the posterity race, Ingrid Bergman comes out ahead of Liv Ullman. She's still a mythic figure, and Ullman is flirting with obscurity.

Jeff Gee said...

Who wore go-go boots in 1975?

I think her name was Doris. Ask around on East 10th Street. I bet everybody still remember.

Amexpat said...

I was aware of Liv Ullmann when I was in high school in the early 70's. There was a brief period when she was the it woman. She dated Sean Connery and Henry Kissinger. Hollywood thought she'd be the next big thing.

I saw "Scenes from a Marriage", which was the first film with subtitles I watched. I didn't find it interesting. But I viewed that as my fault - I was too young and unsophisticated to grasp the depth of what was going on. Years later, able to understand it without subtitles, I found the film atrocious. Almost a self parody that Laslo in a comment above captures well.

robother said...

"Ullmann smiles, gentle and appalled and vulnerable."

William said...

In the movie, Ingrid plays the role of a concert pianist who puts her career and artistic ambitions above those of her duties to her children. In the mythic Bergman roles, she plays characters who are brave and kind and good. Moviegoers like to see her being brave and good. This is nothing like a mythic Bergman role. Instead she was playing someone much closer to the real Ingrid Bergman. In real life, Bergman abandoned two families to pursue artistic fulfillment. She was working close to the horns in this movie....It's a raw, intense performance, but this is not the Bergman people want to see.. She appears as something of a gracious monster, elegant and selfish and capable of creating great art. Bergman's mask was so much more convincing than her reality.

William said...

Scenes From A Marriage presented scenes from no marriage I ever heard of. It should have been entitled Scenes From Bergman's Assorted Marriages. He really went through quite a number of marriages and breakdowns. On the plus side, he was with Bibi Anderson, Liv Ullman, and many of his leading ladies. You can't say that his lifelong pursuit of beauty came to nought.

Robert Cook said...

"Surprise, Cookie, Americans know who Liv Ullman is."

At least one commenter here doesn't, hence the reason for Prof. Althouse's post.

Ann Althouse said...

"In the movie, Ingrid plays the role of a concert pianist who puts her career and artistic ambitions above those of her duties to her children. In the mythic Bergman roles, she plays characters who are brave and kind and good. Moviegoers like to see her being brave and good. This is nothing like a mythic Bergman role. Instead she was playing someone much closer to the real Ingrid Bergman. In real life, Bergman abandoned two families to pursue artistic fulfillment. She was working close to the horns in this movie....It's a raw, intense performance, but this is not the Bergman people want to see.. She appears as something of a gracious monster, elegant and selfish and capable of creating great art. Bergman's mask was so much more convincing than her reality."

That movie is talked about in my favorite movie "My Dinner with Andre."

Bill Peschel said...

Nothing much worth adding except I, too, know Ullmann's work well. I've even read her first memoir.

Now that I'm older and wiser (believe me, I was an idiot then), I've lost my taste for willowly sad blondes who need rescuing. But she was still beautiful.

Robert Cook said...

"'(I work with someone who knows her slightly.)'

"That's a faux cred, but you mayn't have intended it as such."



No. It meant to point out how odd it was that most Americans today have little or no knowledge of who Liv Ullman is, yet, someone I work with happens to have met and interacted with her. In other words: What a small world!

Jupiter said...

Shakespeare wrote a play called, if memory serves, "Much Ado About Nothing".

rhhardin said...

I took pics of both the movie theater marquee playing Wild Strawberries and the college performance of The Doll's House in, probably, the same year, as a yearbook photo editor.

Photos online somewhere but it's too tedious to find.

James Hofbauer said...

Checked back in while driving, just to affirm Queastar would respond. He did, cleverly and self-consciously concerned with win-win situations. Reaching an age where others mature into adults, it may be revealing to understand many don't live their lives thinking they're in school, relating to life with the concern of victory or grades. Putting away childish things, moving beyond the mindset of being in school, it is possible to become more fully human.

rhhardin said...

The best way to re-watch romantic comedies with bad plots is to watch them only halfway through act II.

Boy meets girl, and they start getting along. End of story.

Lydia said...

But if we do allow beauty, if we don’t kill movies and concerts and ballets and books we still have a chance.

So naive. She's obviously ever heard of Theresienstadt:

"A grotesque and unique place within the history of the Holocaust, at any given time it housed 60,000 people, most of whom were transported to Auschwitz. Yet it was also where, famously and surreally, the remarkable musical and theatrical life of Czechoslovakia was permitted, defiantly, to thrive; where great music was composed and performed by those condemned."

dwick said...

Robert Cook said 12/5/16 @ 10:08 AM...

"It meant to point out how odd it was that most Americans today have little or no knowledge of who Liv Ullman is..."


The US national median age is ~37 years old. Considering Ullman's rather short heyday was in a few now largely forgotten films made several years before more than half the people around here today were even born, it's not odd at all...

tcrosse said...

Liv Ullman will live forever in the memories of characters in Woody Allen movies. (Maybe not in the early, funny ones.)

Robert Cook said...

dwick:

That most Americans today do not know who Liv Ullman is is not what I was pointing out as odd.

Jake said...

"Do people today really not recognize Liv Ullmann?!"

Not only did I not recognize her, I'd never heard of her until this post. I will forget her soon.

Bad Lieutenant said...

The "co-presenter" of the 1973 Best Actor Oscar was Liv Ullmann. Do people today really not recognize Liv Ullmann?! She was the greatest actress of that time. "Scenes from a Marriage," "Cries and Whispers," "The Emigrants," and "The New Land." Do people not know these movies?

1. What's the proper word instead of "co-presenter? I assume the scare quotes mean I got it wrong. Not very interested in Awards shows.

2. Any relation to Tracey? She was funny.

2a. I know the name, because I read, but I don't read about or watch much TV or film, especially what I gather is artsy, so I don't know who she was or what she did. I do know the difference between Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid was pretty, especially if you put enough Vaseline on the lens, like with Cybil Shepard. Ingmar did that thing with Death.

3. Nope, nein, nyet, and iye.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Oh, and thank you for my tag. Blogmortality!

Fabi said...

She does have her own Ferrari paint color: Grigio Ingrid Ferro -- light silver/grey metallic.

William said...

I'm not seeing a lot of love here for Ingmar or Liv. You're cheating yourselves. Some of Bergman's works were overpraised, but he hit quite a few home runs, and his actors, especially including Ullman, gave performances that have never been seen before or since on screen.......In later life, I've been searching for the meaning and significance of life. Between stays at the Zen monastery, I watch Bergman movies.. I've seen Bergman's movie Persona a number of times. It's a great movie, but its meaning eludes me. What's a mask, what's a face, what's the essence, or rather who's the mask and who's the true essence. The movie flits in and out of fantasy and reality, symbolism and drama. It's hard to figure out what's going on in the movie, but I'm sure if I understood it, I would be well on my way to understanding the mystery of life. A few more viewings perhaps........In the movie, Liv Ullman is an actress who has lost the power of speech. She studies her nurse, Bibi Anderson, as the nurse recounts the details of her life. Bibi tells her about a sexual encounter that she and a friend had with a young boy on the beach. Ullman listens attentively but with a masked expression.. Bbi's recounting includes lots of salacious details. It was hot stuff when the movie first came out. No nudity, but very sexy. Maybe what made Bergman movies so powerful in their era was the erotic charge. Now what with all the internet porn, his movies have lost their eroticism and some of their power.

urbane legend said...

William said
In later life, I've been searching for the meaning and significance of life. Between stays at the Zen monastery, I watch Bergman movies . .

Meaning in movies? Plumbing has meaning. Movies are entertainment. If there is meaning in a movie, it isn't entertaining. When I want meaning from the great frozen North I will read Kierkegaard.