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Ingmar Bergman’s The Touch is returning to cinemas


During 1970 the great Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (1918 – 2007) shot The Touch, his first English language film. Elliott Gould (MASH, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Ocean’s Eleven, Friends), the first American to star in a Bergman film, was cast alongside regulars Bibi Andersson and Max von Sydow, and British actor Sheila Reid had a small part. Opening on 23 February 2018, The Touch is the second of three Bergman films to be released by the BFI in cinemas UK-wide and screening during the major Bergman season at BFI Southbank (1 January – mid-March) that is taking place as part of the global centenary celebrations of the world-renowned filmmaker. Now restored by the Swedish Film Institute in its original bilingual version, Bergman’s rarely seen chronicle of a passionate affair is a major rediscovery.

A happily married mother of two, Karin (Bibi Andersson) surprises herself by responding in kind to an unforeseen profession of love from David (Elliott Gould), an archaeologist visiting Sweden whom her doctor husband Andreas (Max von Sydow) has befriended. But love, however toxically exhilarating, is seldom simple, and deceit and David’s volatile temperament take their toll…

Due to dubbed prints and mixed reviews, The Touch all but disappeared for decades. Now, however, the psychological precision of Bergman’s script and the subtlety and intensity of the performances can be properly appreciated, along with the evocative autumnal colours of Sven Nykvist’s burnished camerawork. Utterly compelling; a revelation.

Following its theatrical release, when it will simultaneously be available on BFI Player, The Touch will be released on DVD/Blu-ray by the BFI on 23 April. This will be the first time that it has ever been released on DVD anywhere in the world.

The Bergman Season The celebration will include a comprehensive season of his work at BFI Southbank from Monday 1 January to mid-March 2018, UK-wide revivals of modernist masterpiece PERSONA (1966), Bergman’s first English-language film THE TOUCH (1971) and his much-loved version of Mozart’s opera THE MAGIC FLUTE (1975), with the latter two titles also being released on BFI Blu-ray/DVD and on BFI Player. Five other films, unseen on the big screen for many years, including SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT (1955) and CRIES AND WHISPERS (1972), will be made available for booking by the BFI, enabling cinemas around the country to programme their own mini-retrospectives during this centenary year.

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