Monday, July 30, 2007

Ingmar Bergman, RIP

Readers of this blog know that The Corsair's favorite film director is Ingmar Bergman, whose serious, Modernist films presented visually the great questions facing man. Of course, the obits will be filled with the all-reductive epithet "depressing," passing over Bergman's accomplishments lightly, sentencing him to the intellectual ghetto of Artists-who-needed-their-Meds (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). Quite the contrary. Some of us, however, like our films raw and intense and serious; some of us like our Bergman.
Others, asses, will reduce Bergman to a phenomenon of our parents' rebellion.
Or, rather, liked (The Corsair sips a glass of peppery Cognac).

Every film maker coming after Bergman labors under the anxiety of his influence, from the extreme close-ups, to the . His "From the life of the Marionettes" is perhaps the best adaptation of Freud's theory of repetition-compulsion, and "Cries and Whispers" which is, we wager, the most visually stunning film ever (With the possible exception of Bollard's The Black Stallion). His fade-to-red approach and natural lighting in that film conjures, intensely, similarities between the celluloid and the membrane of the inside of the shut eyelid. Fuck the sobriquet "depressive (Averted Gaze)," Bergman was naught else but utter and complete artistic genius. Perhaps The President, in the run-up to the Second Persian Gulf incursion, ought to have screened "Shame," the best cinematic portrayal of the psychological effects of a civil war on the individual. From The Florida Sentinel blogs:

"Bergman died over the weekend, 89 years into a dream of a career that saw international fame and a national status so revered that few Swedes could so much as load a camera without his seal of approval. His 1950s works were seminal, 1960s movies influential and his 70s film introspective to the point of tedium. He worked and worked and influenced and aided others and was a living iconoclast, a connection to an age of artistically ambitious film storytellers who enjoyed a level of control few in today's movie world could rival.

"And as Allen himself has said, many times, 'Bergman made half a dozen or a dozen great films. By the time I'm finished, I hope I've done half as well.'"

... In the end we all lose the great chess match with Death. RIP, Ingmar Bergman.


Katerina said...

I thought for sure that you would have written about him. He was great and will be missed. Sad day in Sweden.

Ron said...

You know me quite well, Katerina