Sweden’s Ingmar Bergman is world-renowned as one of the greatest movie directors of all time, the creator of The Seventh Seal and other classics in a career that spanned more than half a century. The remote Baltic island of Faro, population 572 in 2007, was of central importance to his life and career, the location of many of his films and his home from 1967 to his passing in 2007. The reclusive Bergman did not open his home to an interviewer until 2004, for a TV documentary series released as Bergman Island. A Ford Mustang II is the last thing that anyone would expect to see on the set while a brilliant artist opens up to the public for the first time on a remote location in Europe, but there one was, parked in the background and immortalized for film fans. Almost a decade before the word “photobomb” entered the Oxford English Dictionary, it was an automotive photobombing of the first order.
Sweden being a country known for its many American classic cars, the presence on Faro of a Ford from America is hardly surprising, even on an island with only a few hundred automobiles. The Ford being a Mustang II is surprising, however, since Swedes are known for favoring full size Yank Tanks with big V-8s, the full calorie American car experience. The Mustang II – the least desirable Mustang from the Malaise Era, widely condemned including here – evidently had a fan on Faro, who may have gone to some lengths to learn where and when the interview shoot would occur and park his car there at the right time. The bright blue Mustang II coupe ended up becoming a central element in the scene, with the interview seemingly revolving around it.
The underdog Mustang II may have been a good metaphor for the struggling young version of himself that Bergman described in the interview.
Like the Mustang II giving way to the Fox platform Mustang in 1978 and adding the High Output 5.0 in 1982, Bergman grew after his early problems and prospered, starting with advice and support from Victor Sjostrom, one of the most distinguished figures in Swedish cinema before Bergman. The Mustang II appears to stand in place of Victor Sjostrom at this point in the interview.
The Mustang II made an appearance in only this one scene. It was not one of Bergman’s own cars, which were far more appropriate for a distinguished European living in the country: a Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen, a 1980 230G short wheelbase two door wagon in particular, and a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 500SE sedan. Bergman’s two Mercedes, each with only approximately 80,000 km, were sold to collectors at auction in 2009 for the surprisingly low prices of just over 200,000 Swedish kronor, or 20,000 Euros, each. The uncelebrated local Mustang II may after 11 years have also moved on to another owner, who may or may not know about its role in cinematic history. If anyone spots a blue Mustang II coupe parked curbside in Sweden, it may be this very car, and probably available for a small fraction of 200,000 kronor.