Liv Ullmann (NO)

Norwiegan actress and director. Born 1938 in Tokyo, japan.

Liv Ullmann’s father was an international aircraft engineer, which explains how Liv came to be born in Tokyo and to spend her childhood in Toronto and New York. Her father died in 1944, and after the war her mother moved back to Norway with her two daughters. Liv showed an interest in acting from an early age, attending stage school in London in the mid 1950s and getting selected for leading roles such as Anne Frank and Ophelia on her return to Norway. After three minor roles in various films, her fourth was a Swedish film with a Danish director, Bjarne Henning-Jensen’s Short Is the Summer (Kort är sommaren, 1962) based on Knut Hamsun’s “Pan”, in which Liv played opposite Bibi Andersson. Having seen the film, Ingmar Bergman was taken with the similarity between the two women and cast them together in Persona (1966). Liv quickly became Bergman’s muse both in film and in real life. Despite her Norwegian origins, Liv Ullmann was perhaps the major star of Swedish films of the 1960s and 1970s.

She made a total of twelve films and television series with Bergman, including many classics such as Cries and Whispers (Viskningaroch rop, 1973) Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1974), Face to Face (Ansikte mot ansikte, 1976), which won her an Oscar nomination, Autumn Sonata (Höstsonaten, 1978) and finally Saraband (2003). She opens her heart about these years of love, conflicts and friendship in the Norwegian film Liv & Ingmar (Dheeraj Akolkar, 2012).

She also played Kristina in Jan Troell’s film versions of Vilhelm Moberg’s “The Emigrants” novels, The Emigrants (Utvandrarna, 1971) and The New Land (Nybyggarna, 1972). She herself counts her experiences on these films as some of her most rewarding and the role as one of her most significant: it won her both a Golden Globe and her first Oscar nomination.

Her successes led to tempting offers from abroad, and between 1970-1990 she played a number of very different leading roles in more than 20 international films. They were undoubtedly financially rewarding and the source of much acclaim, yet none of the films has had an impact on cinema history and Liv Ullmann herself is of the opinion that they did not present her to her best advantage.

In 1982 an opportunity to direct an episode film in Canada, Love, gave her a taste for changing sides, and ten years later she managed to persuade Nordisk Film in Copenhagen to back her as a director. Based on a Danish novel, Sofie (1992), was an unexpected success which won several international awards. In 1995 Liv Ullmann was able to follow this up with a Norwegian film version of Sigrid Undset’s “Kristin Lavransdotter”. The film was a major success in Norway despite its rather lukewarm critical reception.

During this period Ingmar Bergman was beginning to scale back his own filmmaking and asked Liv to return to Sweden to film his screenplay Private Confessions (Enskilda samtal, 1998), which was about his mother, plus his strongly autobiographical Faithless (Trolösa, 2000). Both films were positively received and screened at festivals around the world.

Liv Ullmann has continued to act on the stage occasionally, including the musical theatre both in Norway and the US in the title role of “Mother Courage”. She played Nora in “A Doll’s House” and as recently as 2011 she played the mother in “A Long Day’s Journey into Night’. She has also written two autobiographical volumes, “Changing”(1976) and “Tidal Waters” (1984), and her daughter with Bergman, Linn Ullmann, is now a distinguished author.

Bengt Forslund (2012)

(translated by Derek Jones)

Basic info

Main profession: Director
Born: 1938
Active: 1962-


Miss Julie (2014)
Trolösa (2000)
Enskilda samtal (1996)
Lumière et compagnie (1995) (segment)
Kristin Lavransdotter (1995)
Sofie (1992)
Love (1982) (segment: “Parting”)

Miss Julie (2014)
Kristin Lavransdotter (1995)
Sofie (1992)
Love (1982) (segment: “Parting”)

Citizen Schein (2017)
Liv & Ingmar (2012)
Zwei Leben (2012)
… men filmen är min älskarinna (2010)
Den danske dikteren (2006)
Saraband (2003)
Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000)
Jag är nyfiken, film (1995)
Drömspel (1994)
Zorn (1994)
Minns Ni? (1993)
The Long Shadow (1992)
Oxen (1991)
Mindwalk (1990)
The Rose Garden (1989)
La Amiga (1988)
De likgiltiga (1988)
Mosca addio (1987)
Gaby (1987)
Speriamo che sia femmina (1986)
Pojken vid havet (1984)
La diagonale du fou (1984)
Jenny (1983)
The Wild Duck (1983)
Jacobo Timmermann: Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number (1983)
Två kvinnor (1980)
Fruen fra havet (1979)
Höstsonaten (1978)
En bro för mycket (1977)
Bakomfilm Höstsonaten (1977)
Ormens ägg (1977)
Ansikte mot ansikte (1976)
Samtal med Ingmar Bergman (1976)
Leonor (1975)
Scener ur ett äktenskap (1974)
En drottning abdikerar (1974)
Pionjärerna (1974)
40 karat (1973)
Scener ur ett äktenskap (1973)
Viskningar och rop (1973)
Bortom horisonten (1972)
Nybyggarna (1972)
Pope Joan (1972)
Papegojan (1971)
Utvandrarna (1971)
Iskalla nerver (1970)
An-Magritt (1969)
En passion (1969)
Skammen (1968)
Vargtimmen (1968)
Vargtimmen Prolog (1968)
Cocktailselskapet (1967)
Persona (1966)
En hyggelig fyr (1966)
Smeltedigelen (1965)
De kalte ham Skarven (1965)
Onkel Vanja (1963)
Kort är sommaren (1962)
Tonny (1962)
Ung flukt (1959)
Fjols til fjells (1957)

Read more about the films at Svensk Filmdatabas (SE)


Guldbagge 2015 Hedersguldbagge
Honorary Dragon Award 2015 Göteborg International Film Festival
Awards of the International Indian Film Academy – Outstanding Contribution to International Cinema 2012
FIAF International Federation of Film Archives Award 2010
Kommandør med Stjerne av Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden 2005
European Film Awards – Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema 2004
Aamot-statyetten 2000
KKL:s hederspris 2000
Norsk Kulturråds ærespris 1997
Amandakomiteens ærespris 1992
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Officier 1985
David di Donatello 1979 Herbstsonate (roll)
National Board of Review 1976 Ansikte mot ansikte (bästa skådespelerska)
National Society of Film Critics 1976 Ansikte mot ansikte (årets bästa skådespelerska)
Pris (Los Angeles) 1976 Ansikte mot ansikte (Los Angeles kritikernas förenings pris till årets bästa skådespelerska)
David di Donatello 1975 Scener ur ett äktenskap (roll)
Bambi 1975 Scener ur ett äktenskap (bästa utländska skådespelarprestation)
Circle Prize 1974 Scener ur ett äktenskap (bästa skådespelerska)
National Society of Film Critics 1974 Scener ur ett äktenskap (bästa kvinnliga huvudroll)
Academy Award-nominering 1973 Utvandrarna (bästa kvinnliga skådepelare 1972/Best Actress in a Leading Role 1972)
Golden Globe 1973 Utvandrarna (bästa skådespelerska)
Pris () 1973 (Peer Gynt-priset)
Independent Film Importers and Distributors of A. 1973
National Society of Film Critics 1973 Nybyggarna (roll)
National Board of Review 1973 Viskningar och rop (roll)
Pris () 1973 (amerikanska kvinnliga journalisters pris)
National Board of Review 1973 Nybyggarna (roll)
Pris (Stockholm) 1972 Utvandrarna (1971års SF-stipendium för hennes roll)
Circle Prize 1972 Utvandrarna (bästa skådespelerska)
Circle Prize 1972 Viskningar och rop (bästa skådespelerska)
Guldbagge 1969 Bästa skådespelerska Skammen
Chaplin-priset 1968 Vargtimmen (roller i denna film och i Skammen)
Chaplin-priset 1968 Skammen (roller i denna film och i Vargtimmen)
National Society of Film Critics 1968 Skammen (bästa skådespelerska)
National Board of Review 1968 Skammen (bästa skådespelerska)
National Board of Review 1968 Vargtimmen (bästa skådespelerska)

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