INGMAR BERGMAN, 1918- 2007
One of the titans of 20th century cinema has passed away. Ingmar Bergman died at his home off the coast of Sweden at 89.
Mr. Bergman dealt with pain and torment, desire and religion, evil and love; in Mr. Bergman’s films, “this world is a place where faith is tenuous; communication, elusive; and self-knowledge, illusory,” Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times Magazine in a profile of the director. God is either silent or malevolent; men and women are creatures and prisoners of their desires.
For many filmgoers and critics, it was Mr. Bergman more than any other director who in the 1950s brought a new seriousness to film making.
“Bergman was the first to bring metaphysics — religion, death, existentialism — to the screen,” Bertrand Tavernier, the French film director, once said. “But the best of Bergman is the way he speaks of women, of the relationship between men and women. He’s like a miner digging in search of purity.”
He influenced many other film makers, including Woody Allen, who according to The Associated Press said in a tribute in 1988 that Mr. Bergman was “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera.”
The Guardian has created a special Bergman section where you can find much information as well as, on Andrew Pulver’s blog, this collection of clips from some of Bergman’s greatest films, including The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Fanny and Alexander, and Cries and Whispers.
I’ve embedded below a clip from Persona, which Pulver introduces thusly:
This brooding mid-60s masterpiece is a key statement on identity and human dependency. An actress (Liv Ullmann) loses the power of speech; her nurse (Bibi Andersson) obsessively tries to help her recover; a strange kind of personality exchange takes place, as Bergman marshals a battery of cinematically self-conscious devices to underscore the fictional nature of what he is presenting. In many ways, Bergman at his most archetypal — including those amazing intertwining head shots, that no one could get away with now.