Q&A: Liv Ullmann, cinema royalty and major Cannes draw, looks back

CANNES, France (AP) — Very few are able to capturing individuals’s consideration on the Cannes Film Festival like Liv Ullmann.

At 84, Ullmann is unabashed cinema royalty, and administrators have flocked to greet her at this 12 months’s pageant. Pedro Almodóvar sought her out at a luncheon. Todd Haynes endeavored to get phrase to her that his newest movie, “May December,” is impressed by “Persona,” the 1966 movie that started her decade with Ingmar Bergman.

After assembly Ullmann, “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer pressed his hand in opposition to his chest to catch his breath.

Ullmann has been coming to Cannes longer than she will bear in mind. She’s fairly positive there’s a lodge suite someplace named after her. But after being right here in nearly each capability — with “Cries and Whispers” in 1973, her personal “Faithless” in 2000, president of the jury in 2001 — she was in Cannes for a distinct motive. Dheeraj Akolkar’s documentary collection, “Liv Ullmann: A Road Less Travelled,” performed within the Cannes Classics part.

“I’ve never been here when someone else has made a movie about me or my life,” says Ullmann. “That makes it so different and maybe a little shameful, somehow. Because I’m an actress and a director.”

In an interview, the Norwegian actor, who lives in Boston, mirrored on the passing of time and her halcyon decade with Bergman, one in every of cinema’s nice collaborations. Ullmann starred in 10 of Bergman’s movies, together with “Scenes From a Marriage” and “Saraband,” and he or she directed two of his screenplays. “A Road Less Travelled” streams on Viaplay starting June twenty second.


AP: Having been such a central a part of arthouse heyday when filmmakers like Bergman, Godard and Truffaut had been such part of tradition, do you ever lament that right now’s most daring motion pictures appear to reside much less within the highlight?

ULLMANN: They make unimaginable motion pictures now. You know, I noticed Cate Blanchett final 12 months. What an actress. Art, it’s made right now. But so many different movies are additionally reflection of this time. And I imply, every thing that received Oscars this 12 months, I didn’t even perceive all of them. It doesn’t imply that there’s one thing flawed with them or there’s something flawed with me.

I generally miss that there aren’t extra of the flicks we used to name classical. That’s about getting older, too, possibly. What I’m most nervous for is that each one these serials which can be in all places is eradicating us so removed from what movie actually was. The artwork of the lighting, the artwork of the cinematographer, the artwork of the director — that sort of language. I like the place I got here from.

AP: How clearly do you bear in mind assembly Bergman?

ULLMANN: Bibi Andersson, who was my greatest good friend and we had completed some motion pictures collectively, I visited her in Sweden. We had been strolling on the road, and that’s the place Ingmar got here and spoke along with her. He knew who I used to be as a result of I had filmed rather a lot. He mentioned, “Oh, well, I’d like you to be in one of my films.” And so possibly that’s why I additionally skilled every thing (in movie) extra personally as a result of it occurred like that, Ingmar and me.

AP: He was instantly struck by you in that assembly, however what was your first impression of him?

ULLMANN: Oh, I used to be so impressed. I’m shy after which I used to be actually shy. I by no means spoke. When he mentioned he needed me in one in every of his motion pictures, I used to be shocked. Luckily, I didn’t have any traces within the film. It’s unusual he did that with me as a result of I used to be 25. I used to be younger. I see the film as about him having reached center age and eager to cease life and go into himself. Then he picked me. I used to be him. And I feel I used to be him in most of the motion pictures. We weren’t alike one another however in sure methods we had been. There is a motive he then used me frequently till he died.

AP: How would you describe how deep your connection was?

ULLMANN: He mentioned that. You and I are painfully related. We lived collectively for 5 years however possibly essentially the most great connection was after we lived individually. We grew to become extra related that means. I got here to Fårö (the island he lived on) the evening he died and he was already on his means.

AP: Did you share any phrases on his dying mattress?

ULLMANN: He was already on his means. One factor I did say. The final movie we did collectively was “Saraband.” That’s a couple of lady who involves her husband a few years after it’s over. And he asks her, “Why did you come to me?” She says, “You called for me.” When I used to be sitting there on the mattress, I mentioned, “If you’re wondering why I’m here, you called for me.” He might have heard that, I don’t know.

AP: You’ve typically been described as his “muse” however that doesn’t appear the best phrase on your collaboration.

ULLMANN: I don’t assume I used to be a muse however you’ll be able to say that. I did loads of issues that he needed to try this he didn’t do. I traveled. I went into the world. I grew to become well-known. The unusual factor with all these actors who he beloved dearly, he didn’t like them to go. Bibi Andersson and Max von Sydow. But he thought it was enjoyable with me. I don’t know why. When I did “A Doll’s House,” he got here to New York. He hated to journey. He loved what I did. There was a lot I obtained to do as a result of I wasn’t him, and possibly he would have beloved to do. All his seriousness, after all that wasn’t me.

AP: You contemplate your self at coronary heart a theater actor, however what was your relationship to the digital camera? In the documentary, Blanchett says you had been “looking up at the world sort of with a face of unconditional love.”

ULLMANN: If you’re actually near anyone you like, once you take a look at one another, you recognize every thing about one another. I see the digital camera that means. I don’t must be shy. You are an actor from the within. Your soul, your your coronary heart can come out if you wish to present the digital camera the true fact. It tells what’s below there. It’s nothing you’ll be able to act or do Stanislavski about. It’s not your mind. Your mind is just not the actor. It’s from right here (factors to coronary heart). If you chill out your physique, the digital camera will take it.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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