As part of the global celebrations of the centenary of world-renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007), the BFI is bringing his adaptation of Mozart's The Magic Flute to cinemas across the UK. Rarely seen after its release in 1975, this wonderfully warm and effortlessly charming film was shot in colour by two-time Oscar-winner Sven Nykvist (Cries and Whispers, Fanny & Alexander) and features some of the finest opera singers of the day.
Shooting in Swedish on a set replicating a lovely 18th-century theatre, Bergman begins his wonderfully warm, witty and sensuous movie by focusing on the faces of a rapt audience (momentarily including his own) enjoying the overture. As the story proceeds, he highlights the piece's exuberant theatrical illusionism, at the same time deploying close-ups to enhance the emotions conveyed by an excellent young cast. An admirably light touch is applied throughout, making for a performance of musical excellence, dramatic vitality and enormous, effortless charm.
A perfect match of two masters, this beloved tale is essential viewing