The temporality of truth : deception and self-deception in Ingmar Bergman's The Best Intentions

Source document: Theatralia. 2019, vol. 22, iss. 1, pp. 31-44
  • ISSN
    1803-845X (print)
    2336-4548 (online)
License: Not specified license
Ingmar Bergman's novel, The Best Intentions, is about the life and love of his parents. In transforming his parents into the characters, Henrik and Anna, Bergman offers a compelling analysis of the driving forces behind their real-life actions and choices. The paper draws from the work of the Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, to demonstrate the way that Bergman's analysis is connected to a particular understanding of the dynamics of the self. I ask: how and why are Bergman's two characters led to deception and self-deception during the most critical years of their lives? Bergman's intuitions about the embodied, relational self arguably have to do with his experience as a stage director. Through his work, he is aware of the way that players distinguish between their own selves and the roles, characters, voices, and identities they perform. Bergman exploits the techniques, concepts, and metaphors of the theater in the narration of this story of a 'life catastrophe'.
  • I am grateful to The Danish-American Fulbright Commission and to Niels Bohr Fondet and Ragna Rask-Nielsens Grundforskningsfond under the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters for funding this study.
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