Anni Bergman, wife of Thomas Vinterberg, celebrated author, dies at 102

Anni Bergman, a South African and a war widow whose husband, the Swedish screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg, wrote some of Europe’s most celebrated films, including “The Celebration” and “Fanny and Alexander,” died Oct. 18 in…

Anni Bergman, wife of Thomas Vinterberg, celebrated author, dies at 102

Anni Bergman, a South African and a war widow whose husband, the Swedish screenwriter Thomas Vinterberg, wrote some of Europe’s most celebrated films, including “The Celebration” and “Fanny and Alexander,” died Oct. 18 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was 102, and in February 2006, along with her companion of 25 years, the Polish pianist Grazia Kasłos, she launched what became known as the KinoPoisk International Film Festival, and that year, the first edition was devoted to the joint work of her husband and Lars von Trier, the Danish director who had lived in Berlin for a quarter-century, before deciding to return to his native Denmark.

The festival, which was filmed in 2009 as a feature-length documentary, allowed Ms. Bergman and Mr. von Trier to tell their own stories about each other, and also to show a different kind of relationship between artists. Ms. Bergman, one of the premiere therapists in Africa, spent the last decade of her life working with children in South Africa.

Ms. Bergman’s husband lived in several houses in South Africa, and the film shows how on his trips back to Sweden, Mr. von Trier and her would engage in heated debates over literature and politics — and when one of her husbands got drunk, the others would use his movements as a parable. In some ways, the documentary seems like a portrait of themselves, and it says a lot about the power of the art to transcend the personal.

In one example, Mr. von Trier defended the film “Goodbye for Now,” a favorite of his that chronicles a young couple facing divorce and getting caught up in the consequences of the “creative writing” movement in schools, arguing that even in daily life, people are left-of-center. Ms. Bergman, speaking in her clinic in Johannesburg, suggested that the roles of the husband and wife have changed. “I was so removed from things when I was young,” she said. “My husband was more socially conscious.”

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