Alas—I’m not especially knowledgeable about Ingmar Bergman or his films, but the occasion of his death inspired me to do a little bit of reading (and YouTube viewing—always an interesting challenge since due to lame laziness on my part, I have no sound on my computer). Thanks to Slate magazine, I found a 1964 interview with Playboy from 1964, which contained this fascinating insight into Bergman’s creative process:
“On the deepest level, of course, the ideas for my films come out of the pressures of the spirit; and these pressures vary. But most of my films begin with a specific image or feeling around which my imagination begins slowly to build an elaborate detail. I file each one away in my mind. Often I even write them down in note form. This way I have a whole series of handy files in my head. Of course, several years may go by before I get around to transforming these sensations into anything as concrete as a scenario. But when a project begins to take shape, then I dig into one of my mental files for a scene, into another for a character. Sometimes the character I pull out doesn't get on at all with the other ones in my script, so I have to send him back to his file and look elsewhere. My films grow like a snowball, very gradually from a single flake of snow. In the end, I often can't see the original flake that started it all.”
You can read the entire interview here.