Why is it that some film directors become and remain central in the reception of their works and others do not? Classical auteur theory suggests the answer lies in the personality of the director. In this article, we explore and re-conceptualize the status of auteur du cinema Ingmar Bergman, Swedish film director. In line with Dyer’s gap between the institution and the audience, we explore Bergman’s self-fashioning through his own published writings and compare this to what was written about him in the Swedish press between 1944 and 1983, his most active years as a film director. The result is an analysis of dominant and alternative cultural discourses concerning Bergman’s authorship that facilitates an exploration into the corresponding interpretative strategies located in the audience. Here, Bergman’s status as popular celebrity in Sweden contributes to a paradoxical image – and recognition – of the high-art auteur, not in the least through his own myth-making.