THE BLEAK BEAUTY…
In Variety Todd McCarthy has penned a personal take on the death of Bergman and Antonioni that begins by rightly recognizing the privileged place they held in 20th century cinema:
Are there any directors today made of such stern stuff as were Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni?
As a matter of fact, there are — the likes of Hou Hsiao Hsien, Abbas Kiarostami and Bela Tarr come to mind. But the miracle of Bergman and Antonioni, who died on the same day, July 30, at the ages of 89 and 94, respectively, is that, while making films expressive of bleak, even despairing world views, they commanded the attention, not just of critics and film buffs, but of the entire cultured world, and in the process developed a sufficiently wide public to sustain commercially viable careers. Their work was demanding and often forbidding enough to be off-putting. But in forcing a sizeable international public to confront and try to digest their films on their own terms, these artists deepened and enriched the idea of what films might aspire to and accomplish.