“Liv Ullmann is seventy five and flourishing” wrote David Thomson in his interview intro for The New Republic with the Norwegian actress, now celebrated director, discussing her latest project, a film adaption of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie with Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell, which premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival.
“She’s not the oldest director with a film screening in the Festival, but she is the best preserved, the most dignified, an icon with clout” said Catherine Shoard in The Guardian.
Liv began her career as a stage actress in Norway during the mid 1950s before becoming the ‘leading lady of Scandi cinema, former muse and partner of Swedish screen supremo Ingmar Bergman, appearing in ten of his most admired films, including The Emigrants and Face to Face, for which she was Oscar nominated.
Bergman’s films with inspirational cinematographer Sven Nykvist are amongst my favourite, especially Cries and Whispers, featuring Liv. She made her Broadway debut in 1975’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, followed by Anna Christie, Ghosts and I Remember Mama during the rest of the decade.
Renowned for her expressive face, ideal for drawing, especially in the theatre, I did this montage of Liv from I Remember Mama and Anna Christie with John Lithgow.
Liv was in London this month to do a Q&A after a screening of Miss Julie at the Mayfair Curzon and I really wanted to meet her in person to sign the sketch, but was unable to. I dropped it off to her London agent in a hope she might still be in town. It arrived back in the mail yesterday, from the US, a welcomed and well travelled work of art.