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The auteur as an ekphrastic ghost
Maaret Koskinen

There is ample use of still photography in Ingmar Bergman’s films, in which they serve many and varied functions. They have been shown to add historical and political context, as in Persona (1966), or have served, in Linda Rugg’s expression, as ‘portals into the past’. They have also been shown to be important components in Bergman’s autobiographical project in the latter part of his career, particularly in the novels based on his parents’ lives, Den goda viljan (1991)/Best Intentions (1993), Söndagsbarn (1993)/Sunday’s Children (1994), and Enskilda samtal/Private Confessions (1996). This chapter is concerned with the functions of photographs in Bergman’s writings, particularly with their linguistic description and extraordinary attention to detail, with the aim of showing how such ekphrases go well beyond their role in the stages of imaginative conception in general, or their organic and ‘realistic’ place in the fiction of the individual works. Rather, the aim here is to show to what extent such ekphrases serve as invitations to media experiences or media meditations in Bergman’s writings through a selection of ekphrastic descriptions of photographs, particularly in two of the novels mentioned above, Best Intentions and Sunday’s Children. The chapter presents some passages from previously unpublished diaries as well as earlier versions of the scripts, which were eventually edited from the published version.

in Ingmar Bergman