1924 – 2011
Ulla Ryghe was a journalist who began to think that telling news stories through film would be more effective than through the printed word. She got her first job as an assistant editor at Europa Studios, where she was mentored by Wic Kjellin, who was their only editor. Ryghe credits her with being an “honest and generous instructor.” Ryghe then worked at Svensk Filmindustri as an assistant to Oscar Rosander on Ingmar Bergman’s The Devil’s Eye. When Rosander and Bergman had a falling out, Ryghe was given her first opportunity to serve as editor on Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly. She continued as Bergman’s primary editor throughout the 1960s, and the two collaborated on a total of eight films, including The Silence, Hour of the Wolf, Persona, and Shame.
Ryghe also edited films with other directors such as Jörn Donner (Vittnesbörd om henne), Alf Kjellin (Siska), Aren Mattsson (Nightmare), Bonnie Sherr Klein (VTR St-Jacques), and Vilgot Sjöman (The Dress, Klänningen and Stimulantia).
Ryghe later impacted international cinema through her work at Canada’s National Film Board, the Swedish Film Institute’s international office in Paris, and the Australian Film Commission. While teaching at the Australian Film and Television School, she mentored director Jane Campion and served as an executive producer on Campion’s first short film An Exercise in Discipline: Peel. In 2008 Ryghe published Travels in Wonderland, a memoir of her life as an editor.
(Sylvia Ingemarsdotter, who has her own page on this website, also edited numerous films for Bergman, including Autumn Sonata and Fanny and Alexander.)
“My skills multiplied in leaps and bounds, and by the next year Bergman had much more of an editor at his side. From the very beginning, I noted that my remarks and/or suggestions always found an ear. The response was not always immediate, but sooner or later I was told ‘let’s try it’ or ‘I have thought about it, and I do not wish to do it’ followed by his reasons. It was very instructive, and I admired that in the editing room Bergman was always more intent on getting it right than being right.”
—from “Travels in Wonderland” by Ulla Ryghe. The full text can be found in the Appendix.