Saturday, October 16

Gunnel Lindblom’s Obituary | Film

Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman was known for writing complex and demanding roles for women as Harriet Andersson, Bibi Andersson and Liv ullmann. Lower down the cast list, but cherished by the director throughout his career, was Gunnel Lindblom, who died at 89.

She appeared in several of her best-known films, including The Seventh Seal (1957), in which she was the mute young woman accompanying a knight’s squire (Gunnar Björnstrand) after he saves her from being raped. When he finally speaks, it is to pronounce the last words of the film: “It is finished.” Lindblom had played the role in an earlier stage version. “I am quite a silent person“He said,” so maybe he gave me those parts just because he knew I don’t like to talk a lot. I prefer to listen “.

In the medieval revenge drama The virgin spring (1960), was the maid who witnesses the rape and murder of her lover. By order of Bergman, she lost more than one stone to the role, and was taken aback to find an artificial belly on set; the filmmaker explained that he wanted a stark contrast between his haggard face and the character’s pregnancy. He also insisted that she watch the filming of the attack “so that I would really know what it was about. It was one of the most difficult scenes for me to interpret ”.

During filming, she was rushed to the hospital with appendicitis. He was later told by medical staff that he had refused to undergo surgery unless previously authorized by Bergman. It was while she was in the hospital that she met her first husband, Sture Helander, a doctor, with whom she had three children. For this reason, he always considered The Virgin Spring as “a blessed movie.”

She had a small role in Wild Strawberries (1957) as the sister of the elderly professor played by Victor Sjöström, and appeared in two parts of what is sometimes referred to as Bergman’s “Faith” trilogy. In Winter Light, she was the wife of an abandoned fisherman (Max von Sydow), while in the stark metaphorical drama The Silence (also 1963), she was a woman who, for unknown reasons, travels with her sister and young son to a country on the brink of war. He also appeared in Bergman’s grueling 1973 television drama Scenes from a Marriage, which was reissued for the cinema the following year.

When he met the director in 1954, Lindblom had already worked with one of his previous wives, a choreographer, in his student days. “I was so angry that he had left her for another woman,” he told this newspaper in 2007. “So when she came to a party I had in Malmö… I slammed the door in her face. He always used to remind me of this later and laugh at my cruel behavior. “

Gunnel Lindblom in The Silence, 1963, directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Gunnel Lindblom in The Silence, 1963, directed by Ingmar Bergman. Photograph: Entertainment Pictures / Alamy

Bergman invited her to join the Malmö City Theater, where he was the artistic director. Among the productions in which he acted are Peer Gynt (1957) and Faust (1958). “We had a fantastic time in Malmö,” he said. “There was a group of us for whom cinema and theater were everything. It was wonderful in the way that she cared for young people in the theater and wanted to help them develop their talents. ”It was the beginning for her of a lifetime of stage work.

The creative environment can be unpredictable. “It used to refer to all those who did not throw furniture as inhibited, ”he said. But she “was never afraid of him. I felt like he really understood what he was trying to do. You didn’t have to show him something exquisite – he saw the work in progress and he saw what it could become. “

She was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, the daughter of Erik Lindblom and Beda-Maria (née Löfgren). After studying drama at the Gothenburg city theater, he made his screen debut with the film Love (1952) by Gustaf Molander. She starred Mai zetterlingHis first feature film, Loving Couples (1964), about three pregnant women remembering their lives, and he met that director in The Girls (1968), in which he played one of a trio of female actors touring a Lysistrata production. . . In between, she received praise for her lead performance in a BBC production of Miss Julie (1965).

Lindblom directed six films for film and television, and credited Bergman for encouraging her to do so. He produced his 1977 debut Paradistorg, released outside of Sweden as Paradise Place or Summer Paradise.

Their stage work together included Woyzeck (1969), Hamlet (1987) – also seen at the National Theater, London; she played Gertrude, The Bacchae (1996) and a Strindberg production of Ghost Sonata that toured internationally. Reviewing her in New York in 2001, critic John Lahr singled her out as a “memorable, bird-like” member of the Royal Dramatic Theater Company in Stockholm. Between them, he said, the cast “delivers the punch of Strindberg’s struggle between purity and sin.”

His final on-screen credits included the original Swedish version of Stieg Larsson’s thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009), and his spinoff television series Millennium (2010), in which all three adapted films from Larsson’s trilogy were joined. along with the above. invisible material. Lindblom played the mother of a serial killer.

She is survived by Thomas, Jessica and Jan, her children with Helander. That marriage ended in divorce in 1970. In 1981, she married Danish director Frederik Dessau, whom she divorced five years later.

Gunnel Märtha Ingegärd Lindblom, actor, born December 18, 1931; died on January 24, 2021

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