(Catherine Shoard’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/11.)
Liv Ullmann likes watching The Apprentice. Or, rather, she likes it when Donald Trump goes in and out of rooms. “I find it tremendously interesting, his entrances and exits. I can’t believe someone is doing this and taking it so seriously! If you made a movie about such a man, you would tell them they were overacting.”
It is Trump, she thinks, who is a modern-day Miss Julie – the queen bitch in the August Strindberg play she’s just made into a movie. Both are snoots sneering down from a pedestal of their own construction. “Trump says no to refugees trying to get into US from Mexico. He says it’s all Obama’s fault and he’s given them too much freedom. And he blames him for Ebola coming in from Africa.” Ullmann smiles, gentle and appalled and vulnerable. “If you live in a tunnel, hiding, then people don’t like you and in the end they will come back and kill you. It’s not because he’s evil. It’s that it’s easier for him to be apart than to hold the hand of someone homeless and alone.”
Ullmann, the leading lady of Scandi cinema, former muse and partner to Ingmar Bergman, pinup to a generation, is having a cappuccino in the basement of a private members club in Toronto. She’s not the oldest director with a film screening in the festival, but she is the best preserved, the most dignified, an icon with clout.