In the first film adaptation of a Bergman script after his passing, Sophie Marceau excels as Viktoria.
"One of the most beautiful roles of my career."Sophie Marceau
About the production
The television piece was broadcast on Arte France, 3 December 2015. Below follows a shortened version of an interview with director Bénédicte Acolas, published in Arte Magazine no 49, 2015.
Raphaël Beadache (RB): What was it in the text that compelled you to first adapt it for stage and then for television?
Bénédicte Acolas (BA): I discovered it in 2004, in a collection of three unfilmed manuscripts by Ingmar Bergman. I liked the story very much. A heroine whose emotional state changes so often made me able to work with these ruptures and the different time levels she transverses. And even if the story of Viktoria is set in a specific period, it is a timeless text, justly speaking to us about a woman's life.
RB: One has the feeling that each one of us, depending on our experiences, will understand the monologue differently...
BA: Absolutely. And I believe that's what Bergman intended. It is a story where the subtext takes place on different levels; it is truly a vertiginous trip. Is Viktoria in a psychiatric ward? Does she perform a role? Each one has his or her own reading and I have tried to make an adaptation which respects Ingmar Bergman's text while being true to my own point of view. This multitude of readings allows each spectator to use his or her own imagination.
RB: Who is Viktoria according to you?
BA: An honest, conscious woman with a passion for truth, with a sense of humour and perspective on her own life. A sensual and sensible woman. She moves from a kind of reality to being plunged into her memories, imaginations and delusions. A woman trapped in lies, performing a social role, married to a man she might never have loved, and who betrays her... This is what I see in Bergman's films above everything else: a sharp humour, a distance and a sort of self-ridicule.
RB: Why did you choose Sophie Marceau for the role, first in the play and then the film?
BA: Because she possesses a mix of power and sensibility. Above all I think she is extremely fair in all her movies, demonstrating in her characters a firmness rarely seen. She moves very well in front of the camera, and the work of the body interests me particularly since I come from a dance environment. She elevates her characters while simultaneously pointing to their truth and humanity.
RB: Several of the scenes take place in a gloomy building, a kind of a labyrinth outside of time. Why this type of set?
BA: I wanted to create a place which was a little like an imagination, outside time and with no link to the real. Almost a non-place. It is as if the whole film takes place in a long dream: Viktoria plunges into all the meanderings of her soul and we follow her inner state. As you move across these empty rooms, she presents one of her memories, then plunges into a dream, lives in her imagination, or a delusion... I wanted a set to objectively convey this trip through the labyrinth of her soul.
Translation: Jan Holmberg
- Ingmar Bergman, Text
- Bénédicte Acolas, Adaptation
- Frédéric Reverend and Anna Bellinder-Broca, Translation
- Gilles Porte, Cinematography
- Guillaume Sciama, Sound
- Riton Dupire-Clément, Set design
- Camille Cotte, Editing
- Charles Gillibert, Producer
- Sophie Marceau, Viktoria