Until I saw Fanny & Alexander I couldn’t stand him. Fanny & Alexander was the first movie I ever saw that had the depth and complexity of a novel. My only exposure to his work before that was Cries and Whispers which I admired but didn’t like or enjoy. Fanny & Alexander leavened all that angst with a deep underlying joy.
BTW, my favorite odd bergman reference is in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey where Death, having grown tired of chess, tries other board games.