Autumn Sonata Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann, Lena Nyman Director: Ingmar Bergman Ingmar Bergman is remembered and revered chiefly for films made in his native Sweden during the 1950s and 60s. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and Persona are usually ranked among his masterpieces, all shot in austere black and white. By the 1970s, Bergman and longstanding cinematographer Sven Nykvist - who between them had revolutionised the use of the close-up in film - were exploring the possibilities of colour. Arguably the best of the late colour movies was Autumn Sonata, where the sets and performances were bathed in the soft light and glowing hues of the eponymous season. Although like many of Bergman's other films Autumn Sonata centres on an emotional confrontation, the colour palette imparts a warmth that subliminally suggests some sort of reconciliation in the offing, and tempers the trademark Scandinavian gloom. Because of a bitter tax dispute, Bergman had exiled himself at the time the film was made, and it was shot in Norway, rather than Sweden. He was in the autumn of his life, about to turn 60, and the older of his two stars, Ingrid Bergman - no relation - was 63. She was already fighting the cancer that would kill her four years later and a sense of time running out is powerfully present in the film. Autumn Sonata records a family reunion where a mother and daughter gradually progress towards mutual forgiveness and acceptance in the course of a night of painful revelations and angry exchanges of harsh truths. Charlotte, played by Ingrid Bergman, is a driven, impatient woman who has enjoyed a glittering career as a concert pianist. Eva, her neglected daughter, is played superbly by one of the director's regular leading ladies - and his former lover - Liv Ullmann (below left with Ingrid Bergman). The director started work on the screenplay partly in response to a reminder from Ingrid Bergman about a promise that they would one day work together. Intentionally or not, he wrote her a role that contained uncomfortable parallels with her own past, and some unsympathetic character traits. Initially taken aback, she immersed herself in the part after some fierce fights with the director. Bergman also seemed to have drawn on memories of his own childhood in writing the dialogue between mother and daughter. The film is made in a musical sonata form - themes are stated, then developed, then resolved - and also uses music to develop the emotional drama, most notably in a telling scene in which Charlotte watches Eva play Chopin on the piano, badly, before confidently taking her place at the keyboard herself. Nykvist's reaction shots as each woman watches and listens to the other speaks volumes about the relationship without recourse to dialogue - one of the hallmarks of great filmmaking, and an Ingmar Bergman speciality. Although Ingrid Bergman's final screen performance was as Golda Meir in a TV mini-series - a role for which she deservedly won a posthumous Emmy - Autumn Sonata was her final appearance on the big screen. The Oscar for best foreign-language film that went to Fanny and Alexander in 1983 was really awarded to Ingmar Bergman as a lifetime achievement award. He should have won it for Autumn Sonata - a landmark achievement for the director, the stars, and the cinematographer, and a magnificent cinematic swansong for a great actress.