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  • 1.
    Van Belle, Jono
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies. Ghent University, Belgium.
    Re-conceptualizing Ingmar Bergman's status as auteur du cinema2019In: European Journal of Cultural Studies, ISSN 1367-5494, E-ISSN 1460-3551, Vol. 22, no 1, p. 3-17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Why is it that some film directors become and remain central in the reception of their works and others do not? Classical auteur theory suggests the answer lies in the personality of the director. In this article, we explore and re-conceptualize the status of auteur du cinema Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film director. In line with Dyer's gap between the institution and the audience, we explore Bergman's self-fashioning through his own published writings and compare this to what was written about him in the Swedish press between 1944 and 1983, his most active years as a film director. The result is an analysis of dominant and alternative cultural discourses concerning Bergman's authorship that facilitates an exploration into the corresponding interpretative strategies located in the audience. Here, Bergman's status as popular celebrity in Sweden contributes to a paradoxical image - and recognition - of the high-art auteur, not in the least through his own myth-making.

  • 2.
    Van Belle, Jono
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies. Ghent University, Belgium.
    Scenes from an Audience: The auteur and the film text in audience experiences: Ingmar Bergman – a case study2019Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last decades, the new cinema history (NCH) strand has developed within film studies. This new strand moves away from the traditional focus on film texts and instead focuses on cinemagoing as social and cultural phenomenon, and the cinema as a social institution. Although identifying with this strand, the central claim of this doctoral dissertation is that the radical move away from film texts and authors has obscured their relevance in audience experiences within NCH studies. Using the case of Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, this dissertation first aims to re-integrate the text and auteur into historical reception studies. Second, making use of audience interviews, the aim is to re-write Bergman's canonical position through these audience accounts.

    Following Staiger (1992; 2000), the auteur is considered to be context-dependent, where societal discourses give rise to specific reception conditions and interpretations. Staiger further claims that the text is important in that it provides "sense-data", but remains rather vague on this point. In this dissertation, the text will be taken into account through the concept of cueing: how certain formal characteristics likely give rise to particular interpretations.

    The audience interviews were conducted in Sweden and Belgium. Kuhn's work on cinema memory (e.g. 2002) is crucial here. These interviews are triangulated with archival research and textual analysis. The consequences of the comparative setup, Sweden vs. Belgium, is critically considered in the empirical chapter.

    Key findings are that Bergman's unusual love life and his own persona-building are crucial in the reception of his films. The different national contexts play a role in how participants identify with both the auteur Bergman and the characters in his films. Sweden as a socio-cultural construct returns throughout participants' accounts, illustrating that "place" is relevant to cinema memory in other ways as well. Via the case study on Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage (1973), the dissertation illustrates how audience conceptions of heterosexual love (and marriage) play a fundamental role in the emotional experience of the series/film, and in the memories of that experience too.

    Considering historical film reception as a complex phenomenon, this dissertation provides a more comprehensive approach to that reception by considering the text and the auteur alongside NCH's traditional focus on context.

  • 3.
    Van Belle, Jono
    Ghent University, Gent, Belgium; Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    The seventh art? Art cinema and Ingmar Bergman from an audience perspective2019In: Studies in European Cinema, ISSN 1741-1548, E-ISSN 2040-0594Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Art cinema is a contested concept withinfilm studies. Making use of Ingmar Bergman and hisfilms, most of which can be classified as art cinema, I explore art cinema as an interpretative strategy for audiences. First, I explore the concept theoretically and in relation to Bergman and his work. Next, I explore how historical audiences have used the concept in relation to Ingmar Bergman. Participants in Sweden (n = 21) and Belgium (n = 27) make sense of incoherent or incomprehensible narratives in relation to what is known about Bergman contextually. Applying art cinema is historically and culturally specific, and often to “show off” a certain cultural position.

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