Ingrid had left her own four children when she married Bergman, but during the summers, her daughter Maria often came to stay with them on Fårö, as did Linn and her older half brother, Daniel Bergman, his son by Laretei. It was at the breakfast table one morning that Linn, then about five or six, first learned that she had half siblings. “Why are you calling my daddy ‘Daddy’?” she asked Daniel, who was then about 10. “My father’s explanation,” she recalls, “was that our mothers were such fine ladies that they didn’t bother to explain that there had been other women. They left that to him. My father found it amusing. There was very little that was ‘oh so traumatic’ or ‘oh so terrible.’ Things quickly became anecdotes and stories.” (Maria von Rosen, meanwhile, was 22 before Bergman revealed to her that he, and not Ingrid’s ex-husband, was her father.)
Bergman and Ingrid spent April through October on Fårö, which they reached by private plane from Stockholm, where they wintered. Life on the island revolved around his rigid schedule: breakfast at 7 a.m., a walk in the woods, work in the morning, lunch at 1 p.m. sharp, back to work. Then came the “silent hour,” from 4 to 5 p.m., when the children had to keep quiet while he napped, which was followed by dinner preparations, when they’d be sent outdoors to collect the wild strawberries that grew around Skrivstugan, Bergman’s isolated writer’s hut near the beach seen in Persona.
The centerpieces of the day were the movies they’d watch together, first in his workroom and then, beginning in 1975, in his private screening room, a once derelict barn he’d converted briefly into a film studio to make Scenes From a Marriage, his searing 1973 film about the disintegration of a seemingly perfect union. The cinema, a 10-minute drive from Hammars, stood next to the Dämba house, also used for Scenes, and was the site Bergman chose for the world premiere of his film of The Magic Flute (1975).
The cinema was sacred ground. Screenings began promptly at 3 p.m. (for which the silent hour was scrapped), and at 8 p.m. Bergman would sit in one of the 15 tufted chairs, prop his feet on his footstool and raise his index finger to signal to the projectionist that it was time to run the film. Afterward, he and his guests would sit on the bench outside and discuss what they’d seen. Linn once watched a four-hour German epic about lumber. Visitors, even family, she recalls, had to prove themselves worthy to be invited to join his cinema group. Though Bergman rarely showed his own movies, he once screened the psychologically complex Persona for her. “Some people don’t get it. Do you?” he asked the 11-year-old. “Yes, I get it,” she replied.