Friday, October 22, 2010

The Mankell-Bergman connection

Why didn't I know this? Today I learned that Henning Mankell is married to Ingmar Bergman's daughter Eva. I had no idea!

Mankell was talking about Bergman in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, pegged to the French release of The Troubled Man -- apparently the final Wallander novel (at last!). At one point the interviewer says to Mankell that the characters in Depths are depressive, and asks if that's a trademark of Scandinavian literature, from Strindberg to Hamsun:
If you want really melancholy literature, check out Portugal! I'm not sure melancholia is a dominant trait of Swedish or Scandinavian literature. That's a myth spread by the movies of my father-in-law, Ingmar Bergman. He often joked that it was all his fault! But there's an inherent melancholia to an Europe that's searching for itself right now.

Q: What did you talk about with Bergman?

We were very close. The last few years, I was one of the last people he stayed in touch with. We chatted a lot, mostly about music. You can talk about music in a thousand different ways. And he had his own little cinema. We watched about 150 movies together: silent classics as well as recent films. It was always thrilling to hear his comments. He was the first one to read my plays. I miss him a lot.

Q: Can you name a specific memory?

He was very happy that I joined him in loving Hour of the Wolf, one of his most underrated, most misunderstood movies. I think I represented the brother he never had. The last time I saw him was a few days before his death. I knew he was dying. And in fact he died at the hour of the wolf, between 4 and 5am -- allegedly the time when people are born or die.


Luke N. Atmaguchi said...

Curious if you have an opinion on the PBS/BBC/Branagh "Wallander" adaptation. In particular, the effect of the English-speaking Sweden.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

I've tried to watch a couple of episodes and lost interest halfway through. It's not so much the English-speaking Sweden (though that was weird enough) as the particular Wallander pace, which works better for me in a novel than on TV.