After the Rehearsal: Ingmar Bergman’s Meditation on the Creative Process, Introducing Lena Olin

Swedish (Efter Repetitionen)

“After the Rehearsal” is Ingmar Bergman’s personal meditation on what it takes to be an artist–a brilliant artist, in his case–the creative process, the joys and sacrifices involved for both self and others.

The short but dramatically intense tale stars Bergman’s regular Erland Josephson as a theater director named Henrik Vogler. (Bergman has used this name for other autobiographical or semi-autobiographical features).

When first met, Vogler is mounting a production of a Strindberg play, “A Dream Play.” A visit by Anna Egerman (Lena Olin), an actress whom he has cast in the play, throws him off balance. Vogler was involved with Anna’s mother, Rakel (Ingrid Thulin, also a Bergman frequent actress), an alcoholic has-been actress who once was Vogler’s lover.

Rakel intrudes upon their conversation in the ghostly stage. The two femmes then confront Henrik about his life, specifically the unbearable demands he has made, consciously and subconsciously, on those around him. The open-ended question is: Would Anna become yet another object of desire of the aging, self-absorbed director?

This 72-minute production originally aired on Swedish TV before receiving theatrical distribution in the U.S. and other countries.

Among other merits, “After the Rehearsal” introduced to international cinema audiences the gifted and sexy Lena Olin (“The Unbearable Lightness of Being”).


The cinematographer is Bergman’s longtime collaborator Sven Nykvist, who went on to direct several movies of his own.
Running time: 72 Minutes
Directed and written by Ingmar Bergman