Theatre, 2000

The Image Makers

Per Olov Enquist's play about Selma Lagerlöf and Victor Sjöström after the shooting of The Phantom Carriage, one of Bergman's favourite films of all time, seemed tailor-made for the director.
'I took the play in my hand, went down to the head of the theatre (Ingrid Dahlberg) and said, "I'm the only one who knows how this should be done." I got precisely the ensemble I wanted.'
Ingmar Bergman

About the play

In his plays, Per Olov Enquist has often examined the creative process. In The Image Makers, following on from Tribadernas natt and The Dance of the Rain Worms, Enquist once again makes the life of a well-known writer the starting point and framework for the drama that unfolds. After Strindberg and Hans Christian Andersen, it was now the turn of Selma Lagerlöf. Bergman's production of The Image Makers marked the world premiere for the play, opening on 12 February 1998 at Målarsalen of The Royal Dramatic Theatre.

The events of the play are as follows: the film director Victor Sjöström has been shooting Selma Lagerlöf's novel The Phantom Carriage. He has invited the author to Stockholm to show her a number of scenes from the film. The play is set in 1920 in a screening room at Svensk Filmindustri (Swedish Film Industry). In addition to Sjöström, those present include the talented cinematographer Julius Jaenzon, and the young actress Tora Teje, Sjöström's mistress and an object of Jaenzon's desire. The meeting between Lagerlöf, an older woman and world-famous author, and a young and talented actress becomes the focal point of the drama.

The Image Makers deals with the creative process and the impulses which lie behind it, in this case the trauma caused to children who grow up with an alcoholic father. Selma Lagerlöf's father was himself an alcoholic, and Enquist's thesis is that there was a strong underlying sense of guilt in her relationship with her father which influenced her life and writing. In The Image Makers Enquist reveals how the pain of this relationship was more or less the motor which spurred her on to write. Through her straightforward and frank attitude, the young Tora Teje manages to prize open Lagerlöf's seemingly impenetrable facade, and an unexpected intimacy develops between them.


  • Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).
  • The Ingmar Bergman Archives.
  • Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).
  • Bernt Olsson och Ingemar Algulin, Litteraturens historia i Sverige, (Stockholm: Norstedts Förlag, 1987).
  • Henrik Sjögren, Lek och raseri: Ingmar Bergmans teater 1938-2002, (Stockholm: Carlssons Bokförlag, 2002).


  • Anita Björk, Selma Lagerlöf
  • Elin Klinga, Tora Teje
  • Lennart Hjulström, Victor Sjöström
  • Carl-Magnus Dellow, Julius Jaenzon
  • Henry "Nypan" Nyberg, The projectionist (TV version only)
  • Per Cederin, Props (Dramaten)
  • Ulla Åberg, Dramaturgy
  • Raymond Wemmenlöv, Camera operator (TV version)
  • Bengt Wanselius, Stills photographer
  • Ingmar Bergman, Author
  • Tomas Wennerberg, Stage manager (Dramaten)
  • Sylvia Ingemarsson, Editing (TV version)
  • Sofi Stridh, Editing (TV version)
  • Sven-Åke Visén, Editing (TV version)
  • Mago, Costume design
  • Jan-Eric Piper, Sound (Dramaten)
  • Pierre Leveau, Lightning (Dramaten)
  • Stefan Berglund, Lightning technician (Dramaten)
  • Leif Qviström, Make-up and wigs
  • Sofi Lerström, Producer (Dramaten)
  • Pia Ehrnvall, Project leader (TV Version)
  • Stefan Lundgren, Props (Dramaten)
  • Kaj Forsgårdh, Stage manager (Dramaten)
  • Claes Snell, Master carpenter (Dramaten)
  • Göran Wassberg, Designer
  • Hanna Pauli, Prompter (Dramaten)