Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman, 1918-2007


Sad news of the death of one of the great filmmakers today. I'll always think of Bergman, along with Kurosawa and Fellini, as one of the big three of the foreign/arthouse period of cinema history - for many people, the definition of a foreign film was two people sitting in a room talking about the mysteries of existence and not looking at each other. For example, a clip: http://youtube.com/watch?v=h2f0nfrgaK4

I regret to say that I have only seen seven of his 60+ films, a shortcoming I will do my best to fix. Those seven are: Fanny and Alexander, Cries and Whispers, Persona, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Through a Glass Darkly, and The Virgin Spring. In thinking about these films, the associations that come to mind are of an educated, sensitive man reckoning with the blind chaos of the universe and trying to make sense of it all; sometimes, with bitterness, sometimes with warmth, but always with passion and intelligence. Also, those performances, true down to the bone, and that cinematography, thanks to Sven Nykvist - those brilliant contrasts, light shining down to expose the soul of the individual.

I also notice that, assuming it's still open, the New Beverly is showing The Virgin Spring and Wild Strawberries this Wednesday and Thursday here in Los Angeles.

1 comment:

cjKennedy said...

All I can say is I put Bergman off for years and I've got a lot of catching up to do.

The crazy thing is when I finally sat do and started watching his stuff, they really weren't as difficult and dirgelike as I expected. Deep and dark and melancholy yes, but also very fulfilling.

Strange though that I'm not feeling sadness about Bergman and Antonioni exactly. More than anything I feel a sense of appreciation for what they were able to give in the time they were alive.