10. Liv Ullmann
PERSONA, CRIES & WHISPERS, FACE TO FACE, THE EMIGRANTS, SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE
Ullmann’s now-legendary career truly launched with her first collaboration with Ingmar Bergman – 1966’s Persona – and it is with his name that she will be long remembered. This in no way should diminish all she accomplished outside of their work together, which included other films in Sweden and a sparkling career in the U.S. and U.K., nor should the viewer hold him solely responsible for what she crafted. As with the best actor/director partnerships, she created dimensions to his work that might have remained dormant without her. She could be stalwart and supportive, put completely through the wringer, or anywhere in between. She could seem coldly calculating or vulnerable and lost. Perhaps her most dynamic work – 1973’s TV miniseries Scenes From a Marriage – took her out of the heady existential realms and into everyday life of a modern woman trying to maintain the relationships we all depend upon but can’t seem to satisfy. She conveys such anxiety in her eyes (which she expanded upon even further in Autumn Sonata), imbuing even the most common exchanges with the subtext that she and Bergman so often made text-text. That, in the midst of these striking portraits, she also played naïveté with complete conviction in The Emigrants only begins to suggest the depth of her genius.