Seen from the vantage of 2019, the extraordinary actresses who came to prominence in the films of Ingmar Bergman
— Harriet Andersson
, Liv Ullmann
, Ingrid Thulin
, and the sunny and anguished, incandescent and heartbreaking Bibi Andersson
, who died Sunday — enjoyed a relationship with their director that was rooted in a 20th-century male-gaze ethos. Bergman was famously obsessed with these women: with their faces, their personae, the dramatic possibilities they opened up to him. He carried on off-screen romantic relationships with most of them (including Bibi Andersson), and in his movies he placed them on a grand pedestal of extravagant expression. The pedestal was framed not with a medium or long shot but with a starkly penetrating close-up. You could say that Bergman used the camera to probe their very being.
Yet it may be the essence of the partnership between Bergman, the mythical art-house giant, and the actresses he turned into psychodramatic