The Snakeskin (Sweden, 1965)

Written upon Bergman’s receiving the Erasmus Prize, this manifesto demonstrates the filmmaker’s despair at the possibility of creating art, in the cinema or in any artistic medium. Ironically, perhaps, Bergman wrote this on the precipice of releasing Persona (Sweden, 1966), perhaps his best-known work of the 1960s. Indeed, the film pointed to a radical break in his aesthetic: he followed it with Vargtimmen (Hour of the Wolf, 1968), Skammen (Shame, 1968) and En passion (The Passion of Anna, 1969), all of which deploy quasi-Brechtian aesthetics to address both the personal and political, the latter being a new area of exploration for Bergman.