Tribute: Swedish actress Ingrid Thulin

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Swedish actress Ingrid Thulin died in January at age 75 after a long illness, returning to Sweden from her residency in Rome. She will be most remembered not only for her work with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, clearly one of his best female actresses - but also for embodying complex female archetypes with skill. Thulin played Marianne Borg in Wild Strawberries in 1957 where she accompanies her father in law Professor Isak Borg from Stockholm to Lund in a black touring car. Her aloofness towards this man of honors is memorable: she lights up in the car and does not extinguish her cigarette at his request. Then she tells him what she really thinks of him with cool precision. She has married Isak's son who has inherited many of his characteristics: coldness, detachment, and stinginess. Why would she want to get in a car with this old grouch and why did she wind up with Evald in the first place? Marianne is a significant influence on stuffy old Isaac changing his ways Here is evidence of one of the female archetypes actress Ingrid Thulin mastered: she could state her mind and have her way without batting an eyelash, commanding respect and awe.

In Mai Zetterling's film Night Games(1966)Thulin plays Irene the mother of young Jan. Jan grows into a man and the film is a series of flashbacks. As an adult, he confuses love with war. As a boy, we discover the reason: his mother was busy, detached aloof though he was starved for contact. At one point he dresses up in her clothing, dons her wig and applies her makeup. Even this does not get her attention. Night Games caused a scandal at the Venice Film Festival where it was nominated for a Golden Lion.

Another memorable portrait by Thulin is in Bergman's The Magician where her androgynous talents are combined as Manda Vogler, a recurrent surname used by Bergman, and Mr. Aman, a circus artist.

In 1958, Thulin shared the best actress award at Cannes with Bibi Andersson for Ingmar Bergman's Nära Livet (The Brink of Life). Thulin never fit into Hollywood and the roles she was given seemed to diminish her abilities. In 1978 she turned her attentions to directing and made her first feature with cinematographer Sven Nyqvist in One and One. In 1982 she directed a beautiful contemplative and melancholic drama Broken Sky.

Thulin's second marriage was to Harry Schein, co-founder and of the Swedish Film Institute who was responsible for seeing that a percentage of each ticket to the movies went into making new films, a practice that is still in existence today. Schein also encouraged Thulin to work in international film. Her films abroad did not bring her the international acclaim she experienced in Sweden but she worked in Italy as an actress through the late 1980's. Ingrid Thulin will continue to command audiences with many of her most memorable roles available on the home video market.

For Movie Magazine, this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN

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Swedish actress Ingrid Thulin