Bergman, we know from films and interviews, has always been sensitive to his public. To some extent his recent production has been shaped by audience concerns. For Bergman, audience is not wholly synonymous with market. His market is multinational, yet the audiences he regards as significant, and to whom he has regularly addressed himself for many years, are two: American and Swedish. The Touch and Scenes from a Marriage were attempts to rally these two audiences. Ironically, The Touch (aimed at the United States) failed to impress either very deeply, while Scenes from a Marriage (made for Swedish television) was an unprecedented success in both.

Why Bergman should concern himself with his home public is obvious—but why the Americans? The answer is partly historical. At a time when, in the United States, foreign art films appealed only to an inner circle of cinema buffs, Bergman scored a precipitous popular success with The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. No other Swedish film director had ever before met with such American acclaim, and interviews with Bergman in the late fifties reveal some bewilderment over the swiftness and scope of this reception. But if his American popularity was then an unexpected luxury, it has now become a necessity. The increasing antipathy of the Swedes has driven Bergman almost by default into a greater reliance on his American public. In Sweden a disenchantment has evolved which now takes on the proportions of a backlash: in greater numbers, and with louder voices, influential writers and critics, some members of the industry, and filmgoers have become critical of the man who was, not so long ago, a national culture hero.

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