The playfulness of Ingmar Bergman: Screenwriting from notebooks to screenplays


This article discusses the creative playfulness in the screenwriting process of Ingmar Bergman’s filmmaking. The process of writing, from notes and drafts to finished screenplays, is examined from the perspective of genetic criticism in combination with perspectives on screenwriting as intermediate process across media and in stages. In this study, the notion of play refers both to Bergman’s method of creative writing and the playful dimension of the finished artwork, i.e. the films and screenplays. Play is understood in terms of transgression of fiction and the real on various levels. Most importantly, the study focuses on play in the ambivalence of agency in Bergman’s notebooks – that is transgressions between author, narrator, and character – that continues in the aesthetics of self-reflexivity and auto-fiction in the screenplays and in the films. The Ingmar Bergman archives, where the notes and screenplay drafts are collected and digitised, allow such an examination of the writing process. The archive consists of the donation of Bergman’s personal collection of notes, drafts, letters, and other documents – personal and professional – from his early career in the 1930s until the last productions in the early 2000s, across media and art forms.

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Rossholm, Anna Sofia: The playfulness of Ingmar Bergman: Screenwriting from notebooks to screenplays. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 7 (2018), Nr. 2, S. 23-42. DOI: 10.25969/mediarep/3456.
 author = {Rossholm, Anna Sofia},
 title = {The playfulness of Ingmar Bergman: Screenwriting from notebooks to screenplays},
 year = 2018,
 doi = {10.25969/mediarep/3456},
 volume = 7,
 address = {Amsterdam},
 journal = {NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies},
 number = 2,
 pages = {23--42},
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