Ingmar Bergman’s anguish back in spotlight for centenary

This file photo taken on June 2, 2003 shows Swedish legendary movie director and play writer Ingmar Bergman in Stockholm. Bergman, who died in 2007 at the age of 89, would have turned 100 on July 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 20 October 2017

Ingmar Bergman’s anguish back in spotlight for centenary

STOCKHOLM: Swedish film legend Ingmar Bergman, whose tales of anguished love and loneliness made him one of the 20th century’s leading directors, is back in the spotlight with a series of events to mark the centenary of his birth.
Bergman, who died in 2007 at the age of 89, would have turned 100 on July 14, 2018.
To celebrate the occasion, the Ingmar Bergman Foundation has launched a year of festivities around the world.
His plays will be staged in numerous cities, and French, German and Swedish documentaries about the filmmaker — who was tormented by childhood, women and death — are to hit screens. Retrospectives, seminars and exhibitions will also be organized.
“Can you imagine, 60 remakes” of his plays have been staged so far, actress Liv Ullmann, one of Bergman’s muses and his onetime romantic partner, said in a telephone interview.
“By next year, there’ll be up to a hundred of them. That means the world is fascinated... They feel that Ingmar has something to say,” said the 78-year-old, who starred in Bergman’s films “Persona” (1966), “Shame” (1968) and “Autumn Sonata” (1978).
She also directed “Faithless” in 2000, based on Bergman’s script.
Some of Bergman’s previously unpublished writings, including notebooks, drawings and collages, will also be released. A feverish writer, his diaries are full of doodles, notes and reflections.
While Bergman rose to international fame through his movies, his bleak, powerful and dark storytelling is best expressed on the stage, according to Ullmann.
In his plays his writing is “clearer” to the audience, said the Norwegian actress.
The camera’s filter, the violence or the beauty of the scenes, the vivid colors as seen in “Cries and Whispers” (1972) or the icy imagery Bergman used, all create a certain cinematic distance, she said.
“If you put it on stage you come closer.... to the words,” she said.
As part of the centenary celebrations, Hagai Levi, the creator of the popular television series “The Affair,” is to direct a TV remake of Bergman’s 1973-1974 “Scenes from a Marriage,” which explores the disintegration of a couple’s marriage.
The son of a Lutheran minister and a nurse, Bergman was born in 1918 in the Swedish town of Uppsala, north of Stockholm, and had a strict religious upbringing, the influence of which was noticeable in many of his films.
Bergman had a deep attachment to Sweden, though his work was not always met with the same praise there as abroad. Swedes often felt he gave the country an undeserving reputation for gloominess.
A storyteller of Nordic anguish, Bergman’s work is often profound, solemn and challenging, a monument to his fears and passions.
His career spanned the second half of the 20th century, alongside film greats Francois Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Luis Bunuel and Akira Kurosawa.
Although Bergman wrote dozens of plays during his time at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, he rose to fame thanks to his films — with recurring themes of sexual emancipation, death and isolation, as in “The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries,” both from 1957.
He won three Oscars in the best foreign language film category for “Fanny and Alexander” (1982), “The Virgin Spring” (1960) and “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961).
“Saraband,” shot digitally in 2003 for television four years before his death, was his last film, which Ullmann said he wrote for her.
She said Bergman made it clear he was done with film at the end of that production.
“On the last day of shooting, he stood by the door and said bye-bye and didn’t even stay for dinner,” she said, adding that Bergman flew to Faro, the small Swedish island in the Baltic Sea where he had a home and filmed several of his movies.
When Bergman won the prestigious Palm of the Palms award in 1997 at the 50th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, he snubbed the ceremony to stay on his island, reinforcing the reputation he had earned as a difficult artist.
“When they start to print his books and his diaries, you will find a man who really wanted to do good in life,” Ullmann said.
“He’s not this demon” that people made him out to be, she said, referring to his signature doodle he drew on his notebooks and manuscripts of a devil with horns, a tail and a pitchfork.

Saudi fashion label puts women in limelight

Renad Hefni showcases her brand Royaled collection. Her bold spring/summer collection aims to make women feel powerful and confident.( Photo/Supplied)
Updated 19 July 2018

Saudi fashion label puts women in limelight

  • In 2018, Saudi Arabia hosted its first Fashion Week in Riyadh and also made history by lifting its driving ban on women.
  • Renad Hefni won the Women Appreciation Month fashion award created by Femi9fashion brand in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Fashion and couture are on the rise in Saudi Arabia with the increase in young Saudi fashion icons and the growth of the creative community.

In 2018, the Kingdom hosted its first Fashion Week in Riyadh and also made history by lifting its driving ban on women.

With the growth of female empowerment in Kingdom, Renad Hefni, a fashion designer and graduate of Dar Al-Hekma University, began her brand Royaled to empower young women in the country. 

Hefni believes that “changing someone’s appearance can lead to changing people’s attitude toward one another.” Her brand celebrates female power.

“Royaled looks to celebrate every woman who treasures her character by crowning her with a virtual crown and a throne fit for the queen aura that radiates with inspiration. Jeweled with grace, charm and confidence,” she said.

Hefni told Arab News that to her the crown represents power, victory and glory. “It symbolizes leadership to closely align the women of the 21st century with their rights of passage to confidence and influence.”

She believes Royaled will stand out to young Saudi women as it represents their need to thrive and conquer.

“When everyone started to see the brand, they understood the message completely — from the logo to the slogan to all the crowns placed on every garment. Being recognized, understood and appreciated for why I became a designer is my proudest achievement,” Hefni said.

She promotes women’s rights through her fashion label. One of her collections, titled “Enthrone,” consists of half garments to let women feel that “they are the missing beautiful piece in every garment.”

Hefni won the Women Appreciation Month fashion award created by Femi9fashion brand in Jeddah.

Royaled has already made a name for itself with two fashion shows in Dubai and more to come. Royaled has a broad vision for the future.

“Our vision is to reach a wider audience in different countries and to dress some of the most powerful and well-known women. Royaled looks to expand its target market and reach international fashion weeks.” The brand has launched its spring/summer collection “The Ruler.” 

Inspired by the 1980s hiphop style mixed with Middle Eastern glam, the collection reminds women “of their power and confidence, creating a movement, an army of strong and capable women,” reads a post shared on the brand’s Instagram page.

UAE-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi appeared in a video clip wearing Royaled’s tower collar vest.

Royaled was established in 2015 — it is a new name that has made big steps. See the brand’s page on Instagram: @RoyaledbyRH.