Erland Josephson in 1965 as newly appointed director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. Photo: Wikipedia.

"His Jewish humor was disarming"

Culture | 2012-02-27 | 5 comments

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Erland Josephson passed away on Saturday night. He was both an actor and a writer and he is most knowned for his close cooperation with the film director Ingmar Bergman.

DVD-cover, Scenes from a Marriage (1972).
Photo from Wikipedia.

Josephson was "Johan" who was married to "Marianne" (Liv Ullman) in the famous couple featuring in the film Scenes from a Marriage (1972), directed by Ingmar Bergman.

Another example of his famous roles was in the film Fanny and Alexander (1982), also directed by Ingmar Bergman. There, Josephson plays the Jew Isak Jacobi.

Josephson was also a film director in his own right. His most famous film is probably the Marmalade Revolution (1980) that entered into the 30th Berlin International Film Festival.

Josephson was also involved in several non-Swedish films. One example is Andrei Tarkovsky's film The Victim (1986), which was recorded in Gotland.

Erland Josephson was a multi-faceted person. As a writer he produced drama, poetry and novels. He was also the director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre from the mid 1960s until the mid 1970s. As an actor he has had roles in theathre, films and TV-programmes.

Colleague: "He understood human frailty"

After the death of Erland Josephson several famous actors has praised him both as human and a colleague.

Jan Malmsjö is one of the actors that has worked together with Josephson. Malmsjö met Erland Josephson for the first time at the city theatre of Gothenburg in 1954.

"Despite the fact that he was ten years older than me, he became a kind of second father to me. He had a maturity that was enormous. This characterised his way of being acter, director of theatre and author, says Jan Malmsjö to Dagens Nyheter.

Another actor that worked closely with Erland Josephson is Börje Ahlstedt.

"He was one of the best directors I've had on Dramaten*. His Jewish humour was disarming. His intelligence coupled with the humour was unbeatable", says Börje Ahlstedt to news tabloid Expressen.

(*Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm).

Börje Ahlstedt says that Erland Josephson's main quality was his understanding of human frailty.

"The humour and the intelligence characterised Erland and this also made him a good and tolerant director who understood human weaknesses and shortcomings. He had the insight of being a human being, no matter how tricky it might be".


Erland Josefsson became 88 years old. The funeral will be held within the closest family. 

Readers' comments

2012-04-11 09:37 Lancelot wrote:
Erland Josefsson was a great character. My personal favourite is his role in Fanny and Alexander. Please don´t twist this comment thread into an exaggerated discussion of antisemitism in Sweden Bent.
2012-04-11 04:00 Louie b.Free wrote:
I saw the comment re "rabid antisemitism in Sweden....." I´m a radio talk show host in the U.S.of A and would like someone to tell me about that statement Louie b.Free
2012-03-02 14:03 Bent wrote:
Unfortunately rabid antisemitism in Sweden will deprive it of Jewish talent.
2012-03-01 18:55 Chris wrote:
He was a real artist. Which is rare nowadays.
2012-02-28 05:55 Bernard Cooper wrote:
I just read of his death tonight, it comes as a shock. My condolences to his loved ones. I have had so much admiration for the life´s work of Bergman and his sensitive troupe of brilliant actors. Condolences to Liv Ullmann, dear woman. May the great tradition of Scandinavian acting and film/ stage production go on forever!

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