In early April we went to Washington, DC to visit our daughter, Juli, for a personal tour of her team’s exhibit, “Objects of Wonder” at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which won the award for best exhibit of the year among Smithsonian exhibits. We took the opportunity to visit the Swedish Embassy and House of Sweden, where the Bergman100 centennial exhibit celebrates the Swedish filmmaker.
I was able to speak with Linda Zachrison, the embassy’s cultural counselor who previously worked at the Swedish Film Institute. Of interest is that Sweden chooses accomplished cultural leaders, such as Zachrison, who are intimately familiar with all aspects of the country’s culture and who can help create interesting exhibits and activities at the embassy to serve at their embassies for a term.
In Washington, DC Zachrison has worked at the embassy along the Potomac, from its grounds to its roof. Inside she and the team has arranged one of the rooms of Sweden House for each weekend’s “Story time” and art workshops for young kids in collaboration with Kulturhuset in Stockholm. In this room, everything is cleverly arranged for the youthful visitors, such as tables and crawling carpets. All the books in the kids’ library are arranged for their heights and interests.

Years of Bergman
Zachrison viewed her first Bergman film when she was only 10, eventually studying and working with films. She studied film and theater at Stockholm University then worked at civic theaters with all the performing arts. She has been an artistic director featuring shows from all over the world, and also worked at the Swedish Film Institute. Anna Serner is the current CEO there, whose 50/50 by 2020 project Linda Zachrison greatly admires. Of course general equity would suggest this should be the ratio in all the arts.
When Bergman died, Zachrison was approached by Kerstin Brunnberg and Bergman’s daughter Linn Ullman to lead the effort in making Bergman’s home on the island of Fårö, Bergmangårdarna, a center for visitors and researchers. As much as she appreciated this opportunity, she turned down the offer and never applied for the job, but she is very excited to work with the legacy of Bergman from her new position.
Now Bergman Week is celebrated annually on the island at the end of June. Originally Bergman had put in his will that all his belongings should be sold and the funds split equally among his children. But it was Linn’s foresight, combined with the generosity of a wealthy benefactor, who bought many of the treasures and replaced them at the home to make it a memorial to her father.
Zachrison talks up the annual scholarship which allows individuals to spend a summer at the home, studying Bergman’s memorabilia in context, in order to produce research or work that year for the foundation. More information can be found at or through your local Swedish consulate.


A Swedish legacy
The Swedish government has been very happy with the Bergman100 celebration. I mentioned to Zachrison the wonderful, packed showings at the complete retrospective of all his films being shown throughout this year at the Pacific Film Archive (part of the University of California, Berkeley) and we discussed our appreciation for all the young people and those new to Bergman who were attending and appreciating these showings.
At House of Sweden she showed me the room where the Bergman films are shown, in addition to the retrospectives being presented at National Gallery and American Film Instititute. In one corner was a connected series of half a dozen folding screens with panels on various aspects of the film “Fanny and Alexander.” Beside the screens was a table showing representative memorabilia: such as individual photos of Bergman and his parents in an antique trifold frame. But of most interest to me was a facsimile of his script for the movie. This was a large bound ledger with many pages. Here he jotted all of his notes as they occurred to him during his conception and production of the film. Also included are notes on other scraps of paper, pasted into the book. Many of these were sketches of character positions, camera angles and so forth.
At the other end of the room were half a dozen mannequins of women’s torsos draped in some of the costumes from that film, and beside this cast of costumed figures was a screen showing clips of the gowns worn by the actors.
This exhibit, called Swedish Footprints: Shaping the Future, celebrates Sweden’s contributions in general and Ingmar Bergman specifically with costumes and images from his master works. Ingmar Bergman Moods: Costumes & Images A must-see if you are in DC.

By Ted Olsson