Hidden Isle: Discovering Fårö by Ingmar Bergman

(Credits: Far Out / Flickr / Wikimedia)

Travel

During Ingmar Bergman’s stay in Fårö, he kept a sign on the gate of his private residence that read: “beware of the killer dog”. It was just one of the director’s attempts to protect his privacy. The inhabitants of the island were also implicated. if a tourist asked “Where does Mr. Bergman live?” they would all pretend not to know, leaving the hapless traveler to be caught out in a rainstorm – Bergman’s favorite climate.

Since the director’s death, Fårö has become a place of pilgrimage for moviegoers around the world. He first visited the island in 1960 shortly before the release of Through dark glass, immediately falling in love with its jagged cliffs and vast beaches. “If one wanted to be solemn, one could say that I had found my true home,” Bergman wrote in his memoir. “If you wanted to be lightweight, you could say it was love at first sight.” Five years after setting foot on the island, he decided to settle there permanently.

Bergman’s relationship with Fårö was one of mutual exchange. Several of his films were shot on the island, including Anna’s passion, shame, scenes from a wedding (which was filmed at his ex-wife’s residence), Through Dark Glass, Persona and two documentaries, including one from 1969 Fårö Documentconcerned the island itself.

The same year he made Fårö Document, Bergman – along with his partner Liv Ullman and their daughter Linn – moved into Hammars’ house, one of the residences that make up the Bergman Estate in Fårö, all of which are open to the public.

Hammar

We begin with Bergman’s private residence, which he moved into on a summer evening in 1967. Built to blend under pine canvas, it overlooks the rough fringes of the Baltic Sea. The director lived and worked here until his death in 2007. Over the years, this domestic bliss has been quietly perfected. Each room fulfills a specific function: there’s Ingrid Bergman’s contemplation room, the conversation room, the two offices and the director’s personal library, which is full of diaries, books and VHS tapes of some of the films director’s favourites. Buñuel, Tarkovsky, Spielberg, Stallone.

Today, Hammars is as much a Bergman time capsule as it is a fashionable 1970s setting. From aromatic pine-paneled walls and ceilings to cream carpeting (no shoes here) and giant windows overlooking the sea , it’s easy to see why Bergman found this place so comfortable to work in.

Ängen

In the woods behind Hammars you will find Ängen. Surrounded by meadows of wildflowers and wild strawberries. the chalk-white brick building was built in the Gotland style and sits behind a wall covered in hedges, giving it the impression of being intertwined with the landscape.

Ängen offers bright and spacious rooms, a cozy fireplace to keep residents warm during the winter months and its own guest house, Drängstugan, which consists of a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom private bathroom and living room upstairs.

Skrivstugan

Skrivstugan, otherwise known as The Writing Lodge, is a modest wooden cottage nestled just steps from one of Faro’s best beaches. Hidden by a grove of low pine trees and one of Fårö’s traditional stone fences, this is one of the most secluded residences on the island. There are no distractions here; only the birds, the sea and the vast sky above.

The Writing Lodge made an appearance in 1973 scenes from a wedding, in which he served as the backdrop for the scene in which Johan and Marianne reconcile their differences.

Damba

This renovated farmhouse, the central location of Mia Hansen-Løve’s recent film Bergman Island, dates from 1854 and overlooks the marshes of nearby Dämba träsk. It is also a short walk (or bike ride) from the sea.

The Dämba farm consists of the main house, an annex (Flygeln), an old windmill (Kvarnen) and a barn converted into a private cinema (Biografen), where Bergman came to watch films every day. You’ll also find a lush garden crowned with fruit trees and a lilac hedge supposedly haunted by the ghost of a former judge. The cinema is a 15-seat private screening room, which was converted into a barn in 1967. It was here that Bergman received guests every day at three o’clock sharp. The delay resulted in a reprimand. Today, Bergman’s front-row seat remains reserved for the man himself. Maybe the old judge isn’t the only ghost haunting Dämba.

About Lillian Coomer

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