Ingmar Bergman and Fårö

Even before the filming of Through a Glass Darkly ever began, the Swedish film production company SF (Svensk Filmindustri) was worried about excessive budgets. This is what ultimately brought Ingmar Bergman to Fårö in 1960. The director was about to depart for the Orkney Islands, in desperate search of a suitable location, when a troubled financial manager suggested that he take a look at Fårö first. It was love at first sight, and in 1967 the house at Hammars was ready to receive Bergman and Liv Ullmann together with their daughter Linn. Bergman remained at Hammars until his death in 2007, and the rugged and distinctive landscape of Fårö became a hallmark of films such as Through a Glass Darkly (1960), Persona (1966), Shame (1968), A Passion (1969), and the TV series Scenes from a Marriage (1973). In his documentaries Fårödokument (1969) and Fårödokument 1979, Bergman directed attention at the depopulation of Fårö and the drastic changes in the economic basis for the remaining population of the island – from agriculture and fishing to tourism in the summer.

Ingmar Bergman on Fårö among the rauks, 1976. Photo: Leif Engberg.

The landscape and the people of Fårö provided Bergman with a sense of peace, inspiration and freedom, as well as the desire to create, work, read and watch films (he watched two films daily at his private cinema at Dämba).

The relationship between Ingmar Bergman and the inhabitants of Fårö was one of mutual love and respect. The director contributed in various ways to maintaining Fårö as a vital community, and the residents of the island made sure that he was left alone by prying tourists. For all work in connection with building, renovations and maintenance, Ingmar Bergman used local experts and craftsmen, a tradition that will now be continued by The Bergman Estate on Fårö Foundation, and the property’s new owner Hans Gude Gudesen.

Fårö Island, twice the size of Manhattan (114 km2), is located northeast of Gotland. The barren and distinctive landscape alternates between low pine forests and open plains, wetlands, small lakes and cultivated fields. Several kilometres of sandy beaches can be found at the northern end of the island, and the northwest is home to two nature reserves – Langhammars and Digerhuvud. Fårö has approximately 500 residents, but in summertime the number of visitors increases up to 10 000..