Fårö is a small Baltic Sea island north of the island of Gotland, off mainland Sweden’s southeastern coast. It is the second-largest island in the province. It has a population of fewer than 600. The island has no banks, post offices, medical services or police. It has its own dialect (a dialect of Modern Gutnish), claimed to be the “oldest” language in Sweden.
Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman lived and died on Fårö and several of his films were filmed there, among them Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Shame (1968), The Passion of Anna (1969), and Scenes from a Marriage (1972), as well as Liv Ullmann’s Faithless (2000), based on a Bergman screenplay.
When Bergman died, the details of his funeral were kept under wraps. “People kept the secret from the press until the grave was dug the night before,” said Mr. Soderlund, who provided the wood that was used to make Bergman’s coffin. “These were his instructions. He directed his own funeral.”
Spend enough time on the island and it seems as though everyone had a personal experience with the man or his films. “Bergman burned down our home,” said Eric W. Ohlsson, a retired doctor, referring to a scene from the 1968 film “Shame,” in which a barn was used as a flaming prop. Years later, Mr. Ohlsson bought a farm that included the barn’s carcass. Like many Faro inhabitants, Mr. Ohlsson and his wife, Inga, resemble Mr. and Mrs. Claus with suntans — perpetually smiling, with round cheeks and crinkly blue eyes. “It’s not so nice to look at the movie when you happen to live here,” he said.
No one on the island locks his doors, cars or bicycles. Everyone knows one another (if they’re not also related). And nearly everybody considers one another good friends. That went for the island’s most famous resident as well.
“When people would come to the island to find Mr. Bergman, residents would pretend they didn’t know where he lived,” said Majvor Ostergren, an archaeology professor at Visby University in Gotland and a native of Faro. “He had a sign on his gate, ‘Beware of Killer Dog,’ but he only had a tiny little dog. People wanted to protect his privacy.”