The Great PHOTOGRAPHER Sven Nykvist : Cries and Whispers , Fanny and Alexander, PERSONA DIRECT BY INGMAR BERGMAN


SVEN NYKVIST (3 December 1922 – 20 September 2006) was a Swedish Cinematographer. He worked on over 120 films, but is known especially for his work with director Ingmar Bergman. He won Academy Awards for his work on two Bergman films, Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop) in 1973 and Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) in 1983, and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. His work is generally noted for its naturalism and simplicity. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest cinematographers of all time. Nykvist would eventually become Bergman’s full-time cinematographer and push the director’s work in a new direction, away from the theatrical look of his earlier films. He worked as sole cameraman on Bergman’s Oscar-winning films The Virgin Spring in 1959 and Through a Glass Darkly in 1960. He revolutionised the way faces are shot in close-up with Bergman’s psychologically intense Persona in 1966.
Few cinematographers have been as influential as Ingmar Bergman’s close collaborator Sven Nykvist, who helped create such visual tours de force as The Silence, Cries and Whispers, and Fanny and Alexander. A painter whose medium was natural light, a capturer of souls, Nykvist made every human portrait an X-ray, and every interior—whether austerely white or lavishly chromatic—an expressive canvas. His work with Bergman made Nykvist an in-demand industry figure, and he would go on to shoot movies in Hollywood and beyond, for directors like Bob Rafelson, Bob Fosse, Philip Kaufman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Woody Allen.

Sven Nykvist
Sven Nykvist



CRIES AND WHISPERS is a 1972 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman , Cinematography  Sven Nykvist, and starring Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin and Liv Ullmann. The film is set at a mansion at the end of the 19th century and is about two sisters and a maid who watch over their third sister on her deathbed, torn between fearing she might die and hoping that she will. After several unsuccessful experimental films, Cries and Whispers was a critical and commercial success. It received nominations for five Academy Awards. These included a nomination for Best Picture, which was unusual for a foreign-language film.Cries and Whispers returned to the traditional Bergman themes of the female psyche or the quest for faith and redemption. Unlike his previous films, Cries and Whispers uses saturated colour, especially crimson. It was for the colour and light scheme that the cinematographer and long-time Bergman collaborator Sven Nykvist was awarded the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.


Cries and Whispers at the Ingmar Bergman Foundation
Cries and Whispers
cries and whispers criterion

Cries and Whispers at AllMovie


PERSONA is a 1966 black and white Swedish
film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman .It is the sixth collaboration between
influential cinematographer Sven Nykvist  and 
director As with Bergman’s
other works and features their
trademark minimalism. Starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann.
Persona’s story revolves around a young nurse
named Alma (Bibi Andersson) and her patient,
a well-known stage actress named Elisabet
Vogler (Liv Ullmann), who has suddenly
ceased to speak.
Persona has been labelled a psychological
 drama and modernist horror and was subject to
cuts due to the film’s controversial subject
matter.The film is shot and set in Sweden
and deals with the themes of illness, bleakness,
death and insanity.
Persona is considered one of the major works
of the 20th century by essayists and critics
such as Susan Sontag who referred to it as
Bergman’s masterpiece.In the British Film
Institute’s 2012 Sight & Sound’s poll, Persona
was ranked the 17th greatest film ever made in
the critics’ poll.




FANNY AND ALEXANDER is a 1982 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and Cinematography by Sven Nykvist The plot focuses on two siblings and their large family in Uppsala, Sweden in the 1900s. It was originally conceived as a four-part TV movie; cut version was created later for cinematic release. The TV version has since been released as a one-part film, and both versions have been shown in theaters throughout the world. The 312-minute cut of the film ranks it among one of the longest cinematic films in history.

Though he made allusions to his own life in all of his films, Fanny and Alexander was the first overtly autobiographical film by Ingmar Bergman. Taking his time throughout (188 minutes ), Bergman recreates several episodes from his youth, using as conduits the fictional Ekdahl family. Alexander, the director’s alter ego, is first seen at age 10 at a joyous and informal Christmas gathering of relatives and servants. Fanny is Alexander’s sister; both suffer an emotional shakedown when their recently-widowed mother marries a cold and distant minister. Stripped of their creature comforts and relaxed family atmosphere, Fanny and Alexander suddenly find their childhood unendurable. The kids’ grandmother “kidnaps” Fanny and Alexander for the purpose of showering them with the first kindness and affection that they’ve had since their father’s death. This “purge” of the darker elements of Fanny and Alexander’s existence is accomplished at the unintentional (but applaudable) cost of the hated stepfather’s life. ( by Hal Erickson synopsis)

Oscars went to Fanny and Alexander for Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist), Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration.


Fanny and Alexander
Fanny and Alexander at AllMovie

Criterion Collection on the television version



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