Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

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domino harvey
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Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:27 am

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AUTEUR LIST: INGMAR BERGMAN
March 9th - May 5th


Practice your blocking now, as our forum’s second auteur-based list will be covering the works of the legendary Swedish master Ingmar Bergman. We will be composing both a list of best features and a shorter supplemental list of television works, documentaries, and screenplays filmed by other directors. All eligible works are listed below. Rules for each list are explained below.

Individual lists should reflect your own personal preference— the goal is not to be cunning, but honest. If the Seventh Seal is your favorite, don’t vote for After the Rehearsal ahead of it just to skew the results for a film less likely to chart as high, unless of course you consider After the Rehearsal a better film! Hopefully participation will be high for this list, so it’d be best if the results truly represented a survey of personal tastes and not iconoclastic pot-stirring.

Members are encouraged to weigh in on any and all of Bergman’s works during this project’s run, and take this opportunity to revisit as many of Bergman’s films as you can. We are fortunate that so many of his works survive in excellent Blu-ray and DVD editions, with copious supplemental material, so let’s all take advantage of our collective good fortune and really have a long, hard look back at one of cinema’s unquestionable greats. And remember to share your insights with the rest of the board, and engage with the thoughts and takes of others.

Lists should be PMed to me, domino harvey, no later than May 5th. No lists will be accepted before March 9th. For ease of tabulation, please only use the English titles below for your list (where applicable). Everyone who can read this post is eligible to participate in this list and cast a ballot.


FEATURE LIST RULES
The minimum and standard number of submitted feature films for each participating member is 10, in ranked order (With number one being the best and so on down the line). However, if you can’t bare to limit yourself to a mere ten titles, you may submit up to fifteen ranked titles (ie 15 total max) or any variant number between ten and fifteen (so yes, your list may contain eleven films, in honor of Bergman's legendary love of heavy metal). Hopefully this sliding scale of voting slots will result in a multitude of ballots from members with varying degrees of exposure to and comfort with Bergman’s oeuvre.

NOTE: All versions of a film, whether TV or theatrical, count as one film / one vote (ie No need to label Fanny and Alexander "Theatrical" or "TV" or to vote for it more than once)

Members who submit only ten films and those who submit a maximum fifteen titles will still be on even footing when it comes to the points assigned for the top ten (ie the film in their number one slot will be worth fifteen points on everyone’s list). Only those films listed below under FEATURES are eligible for voting. The final list will comprise of a Top 20, with supplemental recordings of also-rans and orphans, as in other list projects.

OTHER WORKS SUB-LIST RULES
The minimum and standard number of submitted non-directed films, shorts, documentaries, or TV movies as identified below for each participating member is 5 (in total), in ranked order (With number one being the best and so on down the line). Only those works listed below under OTHER WORKS are eligible. Participation in the other works sub-list is optional. The final list will comprise of a Top 10, with supplemental recordings of also-rans and orphans, as in other list projects.

And yes, I know some of the films listed in the FEATURES section premiered on TV in Sweden, but these received theatrical distribution elsewhere and, well, it's not like Fanny and Alexander was going to be quarantined on the Other Works list!

TL;DR: Submit a list of 10-15 features + an optional additional list of 5 other works, in ranked order


FEATURES

Crisis / Kris (1946) R1 Eclipse
It Rains on Our Love / Det regnar på vår kärlek (1946) RB Artificial Eye
A Ship Bound for India / Skepp till Indialand (1947) RB Artificial Eye
Music in Darkness / Musik i mörker (1948) R2 Tartan
Port of Call / Hamnstad (1948) R1 Eclipse
Prison / Fängelse (1949) R2 Tartan
Thirst / Törst (1949) R1 Eclipse

To Joy / Till glädje (1950) R1 Eclipse
This Can’t Happen Here AKA High Tension / Sånt händer inte här (1950) No english-subbed commercial release
Summer Interlude / Sommarlek (1951) R1/A Criterion
Waiting Women AKA Secrets of Women / Kvinnors väntan (1952) R2 Tartan
Summer With Monika / Sommaren med Monika (1953) R1/A Criterion
Sawdust and Tinsel AKA Carnies’ Twilight AKA No one’s ever actually called it that / Gycklarnas afton (1953) R1 Criterion / RB Artificial Eye
A Lesson in Love / En lektion i kärlek (1954) R2 Tartan
Dreams / Kvinnodröm (1955) RB Artificial Eye
Smiles of a Summer Night / Sommarnattens leende (1955) R1/A Criterion
the Seventh Seal / Det Sjunde inseglet (1957) R1/A Criterion
Wild Strawberries / Smultronstället (1957) R1/A Criterion
Brink of Life / Nära livet (1958) R2/B Artificial Eye
the Magician / Ansikte (1958) R1/A Criterion / R2 Tartan

the Virgin Spring / Jungfrukällan (1960) R1 Criterion
the Devil’s Eye / Djävulens öga (1960) R2 Tartan
Through a Glass Darkly / Såsom i en spegel (1961) R1 Criterion
Winter Light / Nattvardsgästerna (1963) R1 Criterion
the Silence / Tystnaden (1963) R1 Criterion
All These Women AKA Now About These Women / För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor (1964) R2 Tartan
Persona (1966) R1/A Criterion
Hour of the Wolf / Vargtimmen (1968) R1 MGM
Shame / Skammen (1968) R1 MGM
the Rite / Riten (1969) R2 Tartan
the Passion of Anna / En passion (1969) R1 MGM

the Touch (1971) No commercial release
Cries and Whispers / Viskningar och rop (1972) R1/A Criterion
Scenes From a Marriage / Scener ur ett äktenskap (1973) R1 Criterion
the Magic Flute / Trollflöjten (1975) R1 Criterion
Face to Face / Ansikte mot ansikte (1975) R1 Olive (Theatrical cut only)
the Serpent’s Egg / Das Schlangenei (1977) R1 MGM
Autumn Sonata / Höstsonaten (1978) R1/A Criterion

From the Life of Marionettes / Aus dem Leben der Marionetten (1980) R2 Tartan
Fanny and Alexander / Fanny och Alexander (1982) R1/A Criterion
After the Rehearsal / Efter repetitionen (1984) R2 Tartan

In the Presence of a Clown / Larmar och gör sig till (1997) No english-subbed commercial release

Saraband (2003) R1 Sony


OTHER WORKS

DOCUMENTARIES

Bakomfilm Gycklarnas afton (1953) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Kvinnodröm (1954) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm En lektion i kärlek (1954) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Sommarnattens leende (1955) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Det sjunde inseglet (1956) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Smultronstället (1957) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Nära livet (1957) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Ansiktet (1958) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Såsom i en spegel (1961) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Nattvardsgästerna (1961) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Vargtimmen (1967) No english-subbed commercial release
Fårö Document Fårödokument (1970) R2 Tartan
Bakomfilm Viskningar och rop (1972) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Scener ur ett äktenskap (1973) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Ansikte mot ansikte (1976) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Höstsonaten' (1977) R1/A Criterion (Autumn Sonata making-of)
Fårö Document 1979 Fårödokument 1979 (1979) R2 Tartan
Bakomfilm Aus dem Leben der Marionetten (1980) No english-subbed commercial release
Bakomfilm Efter repetitionen (1980) No english-subbed commercial release
Karin's Face / Karins ansikte (1986) No english-subbed commercial release
the Making of Fanny and Alexander / Dokument Fanny och Alexander (1986) R1/A Criterion

SCREENPLAY ONLY

Torment / Hets (Alf Sjöberg 1944) R1 Eclipse
Woman Without a Face (Gustaf Molander 1947) No english-subbed commercial release
Eva (Gustaf Molander 1948) R2 Tartan
While the City Sleeps / Medan staden sover (Lars-Eric Kjellgren 1950) No english-subbed commercial release
Divorced / Frånskild (Gustaf Molander 1951) No english-subbed commercial release
Last Pair Out / Sista paret ut (Alf Sjöberg 1956) No english-subbed commercial release
the Pleasure Garden / Lustgården (Alf Kjellin 1961) No english-subbed commercial release
the Blessed Ones / De två saliga (Ulla Isaksson 1986) No english-subbed commercial release
the Best Intentions / Den goda viljan (Billie August 1991) R1/A Film Movement (Theatrical version only)
Sunday’s Children / Söndagsbarn (Daniel Bergman 1992) No english-subbed commercial release
Private Confessions / Enskilda samtal (Liv Ullmann 1996) No english-subbed commercial release
Faithless / Trolösa (Liv Ullmann 2000) R1 Alchemy (Theatrical version only)

SHORTS

Stimulantia (sgmt. “Daniel” 1967) No english-subbed commercial release

TV WORKS

Mr. Sleeman Is Coming / Herr Sleeman kommer (1957) No english-subbed commercial release
the Venetian / Venetianskan (1958) No english-subbed commercial release
Rabies (1958) No english-subbed commercial release
Storm Weather / Oväder (1960) No english-subbed commercial release
Wood Painting / Trämålning (1963) No english-subbed commercial release
A Dream Play / Ett drömspel (1963) No english-subbed commercial release
the School for Wives / Hustruskolan (1983) No english-subbed commercial release
Madame de Sade / Markisinnan de Sade (1992) No english-subbed commercial release
the Bacchae / Backanterna (1993) No english-subbed commercial release
the Last Gasp / Sista skriket (1995) No english-subbed commercial release
the Image Makers / Bildmakrna (2000) R2 Park Circus

Note: I'm sure I've missed some English-subbed releases for titles I've identified as unavailable. Please PM me any corrections!

Additional compiling help by rockysds

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:42 am

REVISIT SPOTLIGHTS

Since it can be difficult to revisit an entire auteur’s oeuvre, I randomly selected one title from Bergman’s filmography for each week the list runs, plus one non-randomly selected compiler’s choice title. Users are encouraged to use this abbreviated sampling of the director’s output as a way of whittling down revisits or to highlight unseen titles that are encouraged to receive additional attention and scrutiny during the project. Of course, again, please revisit and post about any and all of the director’s films in this thread, this is just a way to help facilitate that!

A Lesson in Love
Cries and Whispers
the Devil’s Eye
Eva
Fanny and Alexander
Hour of the Wolf
the Rite
Through a Glass Darkly

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#3 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:10 pm

Discussion now open!

After failing to revisit any feature films for the Hitchcock list, I’ve decided to prioritize revisiting most of Bergman’s output for the purposes of this list. I don’t think I’ll end up revisiting all of the films, as many of those early melodramas are unlikely to grow in estimation on reconsideration, but should I end up running through my priority titles, I may yet dive in again on those flicks.

Bergman was one of the first directors I actively worked through a filmography on when first discovering film, and for most of these movies I haven’t had a chance to revisit since those first viewings years ago. So far, my memories more or less have matched up with my general impressions, but for the most part what drove me to revisit these films is that I could only broadly remember whether I liked them and forgot most of the details in the interim!

Here are some thoughts on the seven revisits so far, in order of quality:

the Virgin Spring (1960) I know it goes without saying, but one of the great things about revisiting films by a master like Bergman is being reminded how incredibly good Bergman at his best is. I think I’ve taken for granted my memories of his work, but sitting down to rewatch a film like this is a reminder of how much time I’ve spent chasing lesser works by lesser artists. I remembered loving it and I remembered the basics of its plot and resolution, but that is nothing compared to experiencing it again firsthand. My God, how Bergman lays out the narrative and characters and pastoral concerns, from the competing religious ideologies to the place of women in society, from the family and farm unit to the makeshift communities, fluid and interwoven in a beautiful and horrific fairy tale landscape. The ending to this film, like Ordet or Pickpocket or Fucking Åmål, is a miracle, both literal and filmic. Another reason I was excited to revisit so many of Bergman’s films is that I couldn’t figure out what my number one should be. Well, it will take another miracle for something to top this for me.

Winter Light (1962) Incredible inflictions of pain in the shadow of God’s absence. I had forgotten how brutal this film is in unflinchingly depicting Gunnar Bjornstrand’s impotence and ineptness at comforting Max Von Sydow’s suicidal father. This is later topped by the cruelest scene in Bergman’s oeuvre, wherein Bjornstrand mercilessly breaks the heart of Ingrid Thulin’s schoolmarm. It’s a tremendous scene that shows how serious the relationship truly is between them: Only those who know us well can hurt us that deeply. As for the ending, I’m no longer as sure as I once was of its cynicism, though I am equally unconvinced of its optimism. I think, on reflection, it is a rare thing: a perfect ending, with an ambiguity fitting the scenario and able to shift like a mood ring depending on the viewer.

Through a Glass Darkly (1961) The limited focus and interactions between our four characters gives clarity to their situation, and the sad descent of Harriet Andersson as the men in her life try and remain powerless to help (or, in some cases, don’t want to even if they could do so) is harrowing. I know some modern audiences have taken Andersson’s performance to task, but the broadness of her approach is fundamental to the film’s success— as her insanity grows, it refuses to be ignored, and the combative nature of her confrontation with these men is key to the film’s power. While this is safely making my list, I’m not sure what to do with that last scene, which I’d completely erased from my memory. Someone convince me to read it insincerely, because actively reading it as ironic doesn’t really gibe with Bergman’s general approach.

the Rite (1969) Made for TV (though it is ironically more sexually explicit than his theatrical work!) study of a theatre troupe’s assorted interactions with a local censor after being brought up on obscenity charges. The film is half-baked and unfocused, but there are a lot of component parts that threaten to work enough to pull it all off. You could watch any of the vignettes that make up the slim feature and think the whole must be great, but together they don’t quite add up like they should. The script needed a few more passes before going before the cameras, but it’s an interesting failure.

the Devil’s Eye (1960) Slight, fleetingly comic exercise taking the form of a filmed play. Bergman is easily distracted by the threads of the story and the central one with Don Juan is least-served and yet given vaunted narrative function in the end. Not a bad way to pass the time, but against the better films Bergman made on either side of it the featherlight nature seems like wheel-spinning. Allan Edwall’s small part here as the hearing demon highlights how he’s an underappreciated covert Bergman MVP— an opinion no doubt aided by him popping up in most of my revisits this round!

the Silence (1963) My reaction is less negative than the first time I saw this, but this is still by far the weakest of the trilogy. Despite some fetching visuals, the whole endeavor seems to have removed one narrative element too many to add up to anything in the end. I don’t mind doing the legwork, but the purpose of this film never seems clear or justified by its elisions.

All These Women (1964) I know I had once offered guarded praise for this film on strengths other than its ground zero comedics, but I can no longer extend even a single kind word about this piece of shit. An astonishingly bad film so awful and ill-conceived in every one of its miserable 77 minutes that it’s caused me to bump Serpent’s Egg and From the Life of Marionettes back onto my revisit list, because no way could those be worse than this regardless of what I once believed. Late-period Resnais-level badness.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#4 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:43 pm

Well my #1 will certainly be The Seventh Seal, one of the first films I watched after deciding to get into film, and which I found a crushing bore at the time. It's since revealed itself to be a rich, vibrant, and very funny piece of work, all without betraying the solemnity that keeps it so highly revered as canon. For these reasons and more I've always thought of it as the Bible of film.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#5 Post by Werewolf by Night » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:57 pm

How are we treating Fanny and Alexander? Are the TV and feature versions to be considered separate works, or will all votes for either just be considered votes for a single work called Fanny and Alexander?

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#6 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:57 pm

swo17 wrote:Well my #1 will certainly be The Seventh Seal, one of the first films I watched after deciding to get into film, and which I found a crushing bore at the time. It's since revealed itself to be a rich, vibrant, and very funny piece of work, all without betraying the solemnity that keeps it so highly revered as canon. For these reasons and more I've always thought of it as the Bible of film.
I'm looking forward to revisiting that one soon! I'm structuring my rewatches to take advantage of time-- one great thing about all the Bergmans I've revisited so far is that they're all so short, but I'm also using this as an excuse to make my way through the extras on those discs that contain them, so the Seventh Seal is a whole night's work while I could bang out three of the featureless Tartan discs in the same time period! Also fun to go back and read the dedicated threads for many of these films

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#7 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:59 pm

Werewolf by Night wrote:How are we treating Fanny and Alexander? Are the TV and feature versions to be considered separate works, or will all votes for either just be considered votes for a single work called Fanny and Alexander?
Great question, I meant to address this in the first post. All versions of a film are counted as one, so you do not need to specify if it is the TV or theatrical version for any films that have different forms

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#8 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:12 pm

swo17 wrote:Well my #1 will certainly be The Seventh Seal, one of the first films I watched after deciding to get into film, and which I found a crushing bore at the time. It's since revealed itself to be a rich, vibrant, and very funny piece of work, all without betraying the solemnity that keeps it so highly revered as canon. For these reasons and more I've always thought of it as the Bible of film.
This is precisely my experience. I saw it in high school, a year or two after getting into foreign films, and it found me a patient and willing, but bored and uncomprehending viewer. Thank heavens I decided to chance Cries and Whispers later that year, as it wounded me like so few films have, before or since, and has kept me chasing that same devastated feeling in Bergman after Bergman over the years. It took the Criterion rerelease for me to come back to The Seventh Seal, and like you I found it both deeply serious and a full, rich, vibrant tapestry of human life, bawdy, dour, grotesque, comic, lyrical, warm, forbidding. Probably my favourite ever depiction of the Middle Ages.

Cries and Whispers will be heading my own list, but The Seventh Seal won't be far behind.

Like the Hitchcock list, I'll be using this as an opportunity to catch up on Bergmans I still haven't seen (Hour of the Wolf, Shame, The Magic Flute, etc.)

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#9 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:22 pm

I envy you getting to see Shame for the first time! A night in your near future is going to be ruined (in a good way) FYI

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#10 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:26 pm

domino harvey wrote:I envy you getting to see Shame for the first time! A night in your near future is going to be ruined (in a good way) FYI
Bergman is an excellent way to ruin an evening. Looking forward to it!

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#11 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:35 pm

domino harvey wrote:the Silence (1963) My reaction is less negative than the first time I saw this, but this is still by far the weakest of the trilogy. Despite some fetching visuals, the whole endeavor seems to have removed one narrative element too many to add up to anything in the end. I don’t mind doing the legwork, but the purpose of this film never seems clear or justified by its elisions.
I really like The Silence but in some ways the abstractions here of a decadent but faded hotel in a nameless city in the grip of an unknown war is almost parodical Bergman (perhaps more than The Seventh Seal!), with all of the symbols of curious innocence contrasted against despair and hedonism rather too obvious. Its beautiful but in some ways I find the abstractions work much better in the later films like Shame, where the war brings a couple's issues to a head but remains unexplored in contrast to the couple, or The Passion of Anna (with its stunning final 'dissolve', or dissolution of the main character). Maybe The Silence (and Hour of the Wolf) was a necessary step in utilising such obvious symbolisms, but not letting them overwhelm the drama itself?

Here's Alex Cox's introduction to The Silence from back in 1995

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#12 Post by knives » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:42 pm

Great to see your solution to the scripted films. I'll probably focus on new films because I have only seen about 25. Still I hope to get a few rewatches in.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#13 Post by swo17 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:48 pm

Looks like only 8 of the "other works" are even available, and half of those only in R2 territory.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#14 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:50 pm

Many are up with custom subs via back channels, at least, but yeah, kinda hard to do the extra credit on this one til Criterion releases their Bergman on TV or Scripted by Bergman Eclipse sets

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#15 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:22 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I really like The Silence but in some ways the abstractions here of a decadent but faded hotel in a nameless city in the grip of an unknown war is almost parodical Bergman (perhaps more than The Seventh Seal!), with all of the symbols of curious innocence contrasted against despair and hedonism rather too obvious.
I wonder if maybe the inverse is also true and because the film was so popular with the "wrong" audience, to quote Bergman, the stylistic affectations of the Silence became synonymous with pretentious art house movies for the public, even though Bergman rarely let himself go this unchecked in the direction of perfume ad-isms without at least tethering his extremes to more counterbalanced substance

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#16 Post by denti alligator » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:38 pm

Don't know if I can contribute, though I've seen enough films, I'd like to watch at least a dozen of the films I haven't seen first. But... I want tp put in a word for Faithless, which for my money is one of the best Bergman films ever. Sure it wasn't directed by him, but that hardly matters. It's his script, and his muse is directing. When I saw this in the theaters back in 2002 or so it totally bowled me over. I found it every bit as complex and emotionally engaging as any of his "adult dramas." I'd even say it's got one up on Scenes from a Marriage. Too bad there's no decent video presentation. The US DVD is pan and scan, and the UK DVD is a poor transfer and is non-anamorphic (remember that?).

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#17 Post by Fiery Angel » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:25 pm

denti alligator wrote:Don't know if I can contribute, though I've seen enough films, I'd like to watch at least a dozen of the films I haven't seen first. But... I want tp put in a word for Faithless, which for my money is one of the best Bergman films ever. Sure it wasn't directed by him, but that hardly matters. It's his script, and his muse is directing. When I saw this in the theaters back in 2002 or so it totally bowled me over. I found it every bit as complex and emotionally engaging as any of his "adult dramas." I'd even say it's got one up on Scenes from a Marriage. Too bad there's no decent video presentation. The US DVD is pan and scan, and the UK DVD is a poor transfer and is non-anamorphic (remember that?).
It is sad but unsurprising that "Faithless" isn't available in a better transfer...what a great film, with an overwhelming performance by Lena Endre.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#18 Post by knives » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:41 pm

domino harvey wrote:
colinr0380 wrote:I really like The Silence but in some ways the abstractions here of a decadent but faded hotel in a nameless city in the grip of an unknown war is almost parodical Bergman (perhaps more than The Seventh Seal!), with all of the symbols of curious innocence contrasted against despair and hedonism rather too obvious.
I wonder if maybe the inverse is also true and because the film was so popular with the "wrong" audience, to quote Bergman, the stylistic affectations of the Silence became synonymous with pretentious art house movies for the public, even though Bergman rarely let himself go this unchecked in the direction of perfume ad-isms without at least tethering his extremes to more counterbalanced substance
Honestly The Silence was the first Bergman film that worked for me after failing with a lot of more famous ones. That's mostly because his dialogue affectations which I took forever to appreciate are, obviously, absent, but also because the movie is surprisingly simple and straightforward expressing its central themes in a rather normal way versus the deep vocalization that he sometimes could do, like in Through a Glass Darkly.

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#19 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:47 pm

I think I perhaps just don't respond as strongly to the use of children as protagonists in Bergman (it might also play into why Fanny & Alexander doesn't quite do it for me either), as that kind of adds an extra layer of distance from the more adult dramas going on (perhaps that is why the same child actor is isolated (segregated?) off into the prologue sequence of Persona before disappearing entirely?). The Silence is perhaps the most important of these child-centred works as the whole 'unknowability' of the world (the country, the war, the relationships of the adults, the other guests) seems to be emphasised by being generally seen through his eyes. Though the film does cut away from him a number of times too.

The interesting aspect is that it feels that this perspective seems to seep into the relationships of the sisters too, rather than the influence of the adults affecting the boy as might be more expected (though I guess it is better to say that they are all influencing each other!), and they also start to feel isolated by language, culture and perhaps as far down to their specific individual differences only with an extra layer of exhausted ennui, frustrated (and frustrated escapes into) sexuality and illness layered on top of things than the boy's more open curiosity. More than the boy's encounters exploring the hotel, I'm always far more interested in the sisters here (perhaps itself a premonition of later chamber pieces), with I think my favourite scene of the film being the one where Ester tracks her sister down to the room that she has been having a brief sexual liaison in.

But having said all of the above, I should also admit that one aspect of the film's focus on the boy I appreciate is that it (like that first scene of Fanny & Alexander) reminds me of a childhood spent exploring and wandering around whilst the adults are chatting away, barely aware of what you are doing!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Ribs
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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#20 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:01 pm

Filmstruck's going to have a Bergman retrospective soon-ish, as there's temp pages up for a bunch of Bergman stuff. Nothing that I think is not already available in R1 if you really want it, but it'll probably be a bit easier to access and possibly look considerably better.

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Foam
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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#21 Post by Foam » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:21 pm

Glad to see this is happening. Checking out Bergman DVDs from the public library the summer before my senior year of high school was my initiation into world cinema. It was such an overwhelming experience that's still so emotionally vivid in my memory that I can't believe it was almost a decade ago. Then in my freshman year of college I permanently damaged my GPA because I was rushing through my homework so I could have more time to abuse the university library's dvd collection. I have fond memories of walking across the quad with a tower of Bergman DVDs like a psuedointellectual peacock. As much as I enjoyed all of those viewing experiences, I'm also sure that I wasn't mature enough at the time to really deal with hardly any of those films. Since then Bergman has mostly been a fond memory.

It's possible that the complete Fanny & Alexander was my first high school Criterion experience, and probably my first Bergman experience as well. With the exception of a few scenes, I have almost no memory of it, other than the overall feeling of being enraptured. In retrospect it probably wasn't the best choice for getting into Bergman, since it's apparently so autobiographical and may assume familiarity with his other works. I haven't seen it since, so I'll be revisiting it for this.

Persona was probably the second Bergman I ever saw, also still in high school, and is what really inspired me to binge-watch his films when I got to college. The Seventh Seal was my third (which I saw right before college) and I remember being totally disappointed in it, finding it really hokey. When it was rereleased by Criterion a few years later with new subtitles I revisited it due to the comments on this board indicating that it was actually a very funny film, and was glad to agree with that assessment. As for Persona, I don't think I've gone more than two years without rewatching at least some of it. I believe it's still my favorite of his, and probably the "classic arthouse" film from the great 1958-1968 decade that still impresses me most. But because I've watched it so much it's possible that it will have lost some of its power and there's a real possibility of an upset.

Since my freshman year of college I'm not sure I've revisited any Bergman other than Persona and The Seventh Seal. In fact, other than Scenes From a Marriage, I'm not sure I've watched any fresh (to me) Bergmans since then either.


Some Bergman films I still somehow haven't seen, and will be watching for this: The Passion of Anna, The Hour of the Wolf, The Magician, Autumn Sonata, Summer With Monika, Smiles of a Summer Night, Face to Face, Summer Interlude

Some Bergman films I may rewatch, in order of priority: Fanny & Alexander, Wild Strawberries, Cries & Whispers, each film in "The Trilogy", The Virgin Spring, Shame, The Seventh Seal

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A man stayed-put
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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#22 Post by A man stayed-put » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:24 am

I’ve seen 15/16 Bergmans over the years and tend to dip in and out, but am looking forward to using this as an excuse to work through some more and revisit some I last saw years ago. Particularly those I didn’t connect with fully- Persona being a notable example.
Which leads me into the first film I’ve watched specifically with this project in mind.
The Passion of Anna (1969) There’s a lot going on here and trying to put some thoughts together has actually increased my appreciation for a film I was initially quite cool on.
SpoilerShow
The self-reflexivity took me by surprise (despite having seen similar in Persona); the interview sections, the narrative ellipses, the final ‘destruction’ of the image, and I’m still wrestling with how these play into the thematic elements Bergman is exploring. Primarily these appear to concern (self) deception, the violence people inflict on each other both psychologically and the eventual physical manifestation of this. My initial ambivalence stemmed from the film feeling half formed- a mishmash of elements which serve to under-cut each other rather than work in tandem. But perhaps this a fault in my expectations that the film be neat in it’s tying up of form and content.
Even if just taken on face value the relationships are intriguing, not just Anna and Andreas but also Eva and Elis (and Anna’s previous marriage) . Is it that said violence is being presented as an inevitable part of relationships due to an inability to express the truth about ourselves even if we believe it? Also, is Bergman highlighting the impossibility of change (Anna’s cycle) for those who self deceive and that this is shared by those who rely of the pretence of self-knowledge (Eva and Ellis)?

There’s plenty more to get to grips with- Ellis’ photography, Andreas’ past- and I’m sure there’s plenty I’m misinterpreting, although analysis of this film I've read appears to be all over the map.
Outside of these concerns, the use of colour (I believe it's Bergman's second colour film after All These Women) is striking- Anna’s hat and eyes in a late scene in particular, and the use of what I imagine to be gels in the uncharacteristically romantic (and diegeticaly romantically scored) lunch scene between Eva and Andreas. And the acting is uniformly and predictably strong, although I personally have some problems with Ullmann as a performer in general (more of which if I get round to a write up of Autumn Sonata).
Anyway, really interested to read what others think of the film as I continue to mull it over.

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bottled spider
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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#23 Post by bottled spider » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:25 pm

I've seen a baker's dozen so far, and if I get the chance to see more in time for the deadline I'll do a list.

I seem to remember at least three instances of male characters criticizing women for their smell. Winter Light for sure -- a husband accuses his wife of BO, she counters that he suffers from olfactory hallucinations. Was there not a similar scene in Cries & Whispers? Sawdust and Tinsel -- the seducing actor tells the ringmaster's wife she smells of the carnival, if I recall correctly. What's up with that?

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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#24 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:32 am

Not to derail the thread, but does anyone know why are there so relatively little Bergman films in R2? I'm asking because starting on this project I found myself hoping that a lot of non-Criterion released films would make it to blu, or some in the Eclipse set even (To Joy), and wondering if UK labels like Masters of Cinema or Arrow have or can secure the potential rights to release these.

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knives
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Re: Auteur List: Ingmar Bergman - Discussion and Defenses

#25 Post by knives » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:36 am

There's a lot of Bergman in R2, more than here in America at least, but if you mean just on Blu presumably the restoration work necessary just hasn't been done. Though even obscurities like these have come out which is way more than can be said for the US.

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