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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Orson Welles once said that he'd rather die than watch a Bergman film.

Why do most great filmmakers hate each other?


Last edited by Dylan on Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Michael Kerpan wrote:
Oh -- Bergman has the _right_ to express his views -- but we have the right to note that his remarks are mean-spirited and vacuous. If posted on a board like this by an unknown, his remarks would (rightly) be viewed as trollish.

That's nonsense. Why shouldn't it be allowed to trash well known filmmakers. There are many examples of directors and stars who rose and sank in critical favour. After all he's supporting his criticism with arguments, isn't he?

Quote:
"He's done two masterpieces, you don't have to bother with the rest. One is Blow-Up, which I've seen many times, and the other is La Notte, also a wonderful film, although that's mostly because of the young Jeanne Moreau. In my collection I have a copy of Il Grido, and damn what a boring movie it is. So devilishly sad, I mean. You know, Antonioni never really learned the trade. He concentrated on single images, never realising that film is a rhythmic flow of images, a movement. Sure, there are brilliant moments in his films. But I don't feel anything for L'Avventura, for example. Only indifference. I never understood why Antonioni was so incredibly applauded. And I thought his muse Monica Vitti was a terrible actress."

I think most people consider BLOW UP to be quite enjoyable even if they hate Antonioni's pretentiousness because the narrative drive is very strong , the visual imagery beautiful and the picture of the time vivid. I find it strange that he dismisses IL GRIDO just because of sadness which is not really an argument and he could trash a considerable part of his own oeuvre using that idea. The judgement on Vitti is too harsh because she CAN act and is far from being a statue of existential loneliness. I completely agree over L'AVVENTURA which is deadly dull and full of completely vapid and uninteresting people. It generated few interest in our Antonioni seminar last semester even from the profs. Its stock is constantly falling in the critical community considering its high ranking in the first Sight and Sound poll.

Quote:
On Jean-Luc Godard.

"I've never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a fucking bore. He's made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin/Féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mindnumbingly boring."

Completely agree and every argument is valid. Godard's films are (delibaretly) devoid of remarkable acting and with no particular visual interest (yes, there are a few exceptions). Godard's whole interest is to deconstruct the classical cinema without getting anything substantial out of this procedure. He definitely is a critic's director. In the S&S poll his films get 54 votes, 42 by the critics and only 12 by the directors. There is no other collector of a comparably high number of votes with such an unbalanced result. Godard's popularity results mostly from a certain smartness his films testify to critics and profs who watch them and applaud them for being so bold and new.

Bold and new they are, but dull intellectual **** nevertheless.

Quote:
On Orson Welles.

"For me he's just a hoax. It's empty. It's not interesting. It's dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of - is all the critics' darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it's a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie's got is absolutely unbelievable. Aghed: How about The Magnificent Ambersons? Bergman: Nah. Also terribly boring. And I've never liked Welles as an actor, because he's not really an actor. In Hollywood you have two categories, you talk about actors and personalities. Welles was an enormous personality, but when he plays Othello, everything goes down the drain, you see, that's when he's croaks. In my eyes he's an infinitely overrated filmmaker."

I can remember few people who praise Welles the actor with few performances excepted. Welles is a bit of a ham or going with a slightly bewildered look through some films. He often complained that he wasn't a natural actor like Cooper and that's why he hides behind flamboyant performances or masks because he really mostly can't act.

I agree about AMBERSONS which seems to be misconstructed because the main character is for the whole running time an complete sonofabitch without ANY redeeming features which makes one wonder what e.g. Anne Baxter sees in him.

The assault on KANE doesn't seem to be valid. Yes, there are certain anmgles and ideas which smell of cheap showing off, but it's an immensely moving movie fully focusing on a complex character and following every nuance of it. And a simple scene like the one where Everett Sloane tells the story that he saw a girl in a white dress years ago and remembers it until today shoul betray the big emotions lying in this movie.

There are Welles films however where his visual style tries to replace good acting, story and so on which gives this films an unpleasently artificial and hollowly funny attitude. MR. ARKADIN or THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI come to mind.

Quote:
The Circus (Charles Chaplin, USA 1928)
Port of Shadows (Marcel Carné, France 1938)
The Conductor (Andrzej Wajda, Poland 1979)
Raven's End (Bo Widerberg, Sweden 1963)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, France 1927)
The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjöström, Sweden 1921)
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, Japan 1951)
La Strada (Federico Fellini, Italy 1954)
Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, USA 1950)
Two German Sisters (Margarethe von Trotta, BRD 1981)
Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union 1969)

It's damn obvious that everybody here has its own list which differs from Bergman's, but I see no unreasonable choices (not knowing Wajda's and Widerberg's films). I merely find LA STRADA insufferably sentimental.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:53 pm 
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Barmy wrote:
Well, a lot of Bergman does suck--he made at least 20 useless films. Even Godard and Welles haven't achieved that.

This and more can be yours in Mr. Barmy's new book A Collection of Sweeping Generalizations Which Are Nonetheless Surprisingly Definitive. Only $4.95 wherever quality paperbacks are sold.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:53 pm 
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Oops, I meant 19.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:55 pm 
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Two filmmakers I know of that Bergman actively liked were Fellini and Tarkovsky (the latter of which Bergman considered "the greatest of them all"). Bergman has also called Peter Watkins' "Edvard Munch" one of the greatest films.

Godard hated a lot of filmmakers... later Truffaut, most of Fellini, all of Spielberg.

Quote:
this was in a response to a post that mysteriously vanished]

Sorry about that, it was an accidental deletion, but I re-posted above. In terms of traffic and posts this thread is one of the hottest and busiest of the week!


Last edited by Dylan on Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:57 pm 
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Thanks, I'm starting to warm up to Godard.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:04 pm 

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I remember on the back of my Second Run Portrait of Jason DVD there is a quote by Bergman which he says "one of the most facinating films i've ever seen".


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:06 pm 
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But no one minds if Godard hates a filmmaker; that's part of his charm. The asshole side of Godard's personality permeates all of his work, so when Godard lays into someone critically, it's just Godard being Godard. Besides, Godard wears his opinions on his sleeve -- there's very little doubt about how that man feels.

Bergman's work, on the other hand, would lead me to believe him to be respectful, reserved, and eloquent (apparently not so) -- so these opinions tend to be more provocative than necessary (witness this thread). A double standard, sure, but one that Bergman brought on himself.

That said, if we're getting ready for the apocalyptic Bergman-Godard War of 2006, it's Godard of bust for me.

-Toilet Dcuk


Last edited by toiletduck! on Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:06 pm 
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lubitsch wrote:
That's nonsense. Why shouldn't it be allowed to trash well known filmmakers. There are many examples of directors and stars who rose and sank in critical favour. After all he's supporting his criticism with arguments, isn't he?

Totally 100% agree with you.

lubitsch wrote:
I find it strange that he dismisses IL GRIDO just because of sadness which is not really an argument and he could trash a considerable part of his own oeuvre using that idea.

I think when he said 'So devilishly sad' he was referring to his next statement about the fact that he felt Antonioni never learned the trade. I might be wrong though.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:23 pm 
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Quote:
Bergman's work, on the other hand, would lead me to believe him to be respectful, reserved, and eloquent

From all of the interviews I've seen and everything I've read about Ingmar Bergman (which is a lot) he really is. So is Orson Welles (and I've read even more on Welles than Bergman). They also just happen to be brutally honest.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:33 pm 
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Dylan wrote:
From all of the interviews I've seen and everything I've read about Ingmar Bergman (which is a lot) he really is. So is Orson Welles (and I've read even more on Welles than Bergman). They also just happen to be brutally honest.

Sorry, but brutal honesty doesn't really sit well with a sense of reservation. Not that I'm saying that one is necessarily better -- and to stop being antagonistic for a second, you're right, what I've seen of Bergman is not represented well by these three quotes -- but what started this whole rigamaroll is in no way respectful or reserved and the eloquence is quite up for argument.

-Toilet Dcuk


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:50 pm 
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toiletduck! wrote:
But no one minds if Godard hates a filmmaker; that's part of his charm. The asshole side of Godard's personality permeates all of his work, so when Godard lays into someone critically, it's just Godard being Godard. Besides, Godard wears his opinions on his sleeve -- there's very little doubt about how that man feels.

Bergman's work, on the other hand, would lead me to believe him to be respectful, reserved, and eloquent (apparently not so) -- so these opinions tend to be more provocative than necessary (witness this thread). A double standard, sure, but one that Bergman brought on himself.

This post is not supposed to be directly addressing toiletduck and is meant in a more general sense.

I can't understand why laying into someone critically makes you an asshole. If that is the case then I'm sure every one of us on this board must be assholes - surely we have all done the same at some point or another. Should we not express our opinions because they may be unpopular?

I also don't see why people get so angry when someone else dismisses films and film-makers they love as being rubbish. It is someone elses opinion and surely shouldn't be taken personally.

I personally love much of Godard's work but Bergman hates him and a few posts above Lubitsch called his work 'dull intellectual ****' but I don't hold a grudge with either of them for their opinions. I respect their opinions even though they do wildly differ from mine. But we're all different and have different interests, artistic tastes, politics, beliefs, philosophical ideas, life experiences and these things mean that some of us connect with certain works of art that lead us to view them as life changing masterpieces whereas others will see them as amounting to little more than a pile of fecal matter.

I just can't get my head around calling someone an asshole etc. for stating an honest derogatory opinion about a film or film-maker. Just because they are held in high critical regard doesn't mean we must all hold our tongues and pretend to like them, especially someone as obviously important in the history of cinema as Bergman. I'm sure someone asked Bergman the questions so he answered honestly. What should he have said? No comment?
EDIT: I am also certain that these comments were not said with any malicious intent and were probably spoken in an informal interview situation with a sense of humour.

This type of criticism between artists is very common and has probably always existed and not just in film. Miles Davis was particularly vocal about other musicians eg. 'Eric Dolphy plays like someone is standing on his foot' or something like that. Avant-garde composer and conductor Pierre Boulez once went as far as to say that there was only one good composer in America (Elliott Carter). Many painters were the same but I can't think of any examples right now. To me this certainly doesn't make them all assholes.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:03 pm 
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I think the problem is the sheer dismissiveness of his reaction. At least he threw Antonioni a bone. But to completely dismiss the entire oeuvre of any director that is widely regarded as being in the Top 50 (or whatever), is a tad extreme.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:07 pm 
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Barmy wrote:
But to completely dismiss the entire oeuvre of any director that is widely regarded as being in the Top 50 (or whatever), is a tad extreme.

But surely whether the director is in the Top 50 or not is irrelevant. Would it be OK to dismiss the film-maker if he weren't in the Top 50? Bergman is stating HIS opinion and I can't see the relevance of critics (or whoevers) top 50s. He has strong enough convictions to take no notice of critics consensuses and go with his own instincts for which I respect him.

(is consensuses actually a word?)


Last edited by vogler on Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:29 pm 
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People, you got to take in consideration that Bergman is famous for changing his opinions on everything all the time. Much like his own Faith. It's an on and off relationship. By now, if you asked him again about Antonioni, I'm pretty sure he'd change his mind.

And I like him for that. I am constantly reevaluating my opinions on everything. I don't take anything for definitive or dogmatic. It's a very healthy space to be, mentally. And I'm sure Bergman understands this.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:30 pm 
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All right, maybe he's more a bitch than an asshole.

I'm really not objecting to his statements so I'm not sure we have a disagreement. Had they been a little more nuanced, however, I might have found them to be more enlightening. As they stand, they are just kind of funny.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:35 pm 
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Baby, his statements are like his films -- as far away from nuanced as possible!

At the end of the day, that's just what they are: one guy's opinions. Ok, so he is one of the greatest living filmmakers ever but that doesn't mean everything he says is gospel, right?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:35 pm 

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lubitsch wrote:
I completely agree over L'AVVENTURA which is deadly dull and full of completely vapid and uninteresting people. Its stock is constantly falling in the critical community considering its high ranking in the first Sight and Sound poll.

haha, this site seems to think highly of it.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:40 pm 
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I bet Bergman read that list and was pissed that L'Avventura was #4 and Persona was only #6. Crybaby.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:54 pm 
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Barmy wrote:
I'm really not objecting to his statements so I'm not sure we have a disagreement. Had they been a little more nuanced, however, I might have found them to be more enlightening. As they stand, they are just kind of funny.

As I said earlier, these comments were probably made in Swedish and I'd be interested to know how well their intentions have been translated into English. The whole tone of a comment can be radically altered by the use of a slightly different word. They may well have been more nuanced spoken in their original Swedish words - or maybe not.
You said his comments were funny and I agree - my first reaction was to laugh hysterically when I read them. I was impressed by how incredibly blunt they were. I think he probably intended them humourously anyway (not to say he didn't mean it though).

Barmy wrote:
All right, maybe he's more a bitch than an asshole.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Does this mean we can all speak freely now and express our true opinions. I can't stand L'Avventura either - biggest pile of **** I ever did see. Does not connect with me in any way. And even worse than that I despise the work of Fellini, particularly La Dolce Vita which made me want end it all. Booooorrrrrriiing!

That was liberating. And no offence whatsoever is intended to any fans of said films or directors.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:12 pm 
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The problem with threads like this is that most of us have at least one highly touted filmmaker we don't care for (though I personally have none that I "hate") so once we start getting into "I like this and I don't like this" or "he likes this and he doesn't like that" it's only a matter of time before it becomes a shit fight and every 'great' filmmaker gets panned, which is what this is quickly turning into.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Dylan wrote:
The problem with threads like this is that most of us have at least one highly touted filmmaker we don't care for (though I personally have none that I "hate") so once we start getting into "I like this and I don't like this" or "he likes this and he doesn't like that" it's only a matter of time before it becomes a shit fight and every 'great' filmmaker gets panned, which is what this is quickly turning into.

I was joking.

My point is just that people shouldn't be attacked and labelled assholes for criticising directors held in high critical regard and that we should be able to express our opinions freely.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:58 pm 
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I just can't get my head around calling someone an asshole etc. for stating an honest derogatory opinion about a film or film-maker

I think what some people are forgetting is that Bergman is not just dismissing these filmmakers out of hand for no other reason than to force his opinion upon everyone he can. He was specifically asked about these filmmakers and gave his truthful opinion without ambiguity, or, indeed, restraint. One member said this was not much different than message board trolling, yet a Troll is someone who, generally without being asked, goes around making provocations on subjects for that sake alone; Bergman cannot be a troll, then, because his intent was not to needlessly provoke, but to answer a direct question. That his comments are provoking is because the subject (art) tends to be that way.

On the other hand, if he had walked up to Godard's house, rung the bell, and then proceeded to inform Godard he was a hollow faux-intellectual, I'd be all over the "asshole" judgement. I'd still have laughed, though.

But these opinions are not surprising as Bergman always struck me as a man who felt art deeply (indeed felt deeply as a whole), and his reactions to what he dislikes are bound to be blunt because of the passion that always accompanies deep feelings.

Quote:
Baby, his statements are like his films -- as far away from nuanced as possible!

I know we're throwing around a lot of "I respect your opinion" stuff but, jeez, you must be missing quite a lot if you think there is no nuance in Bergman's films. For all that they seem to put their themes to the direct forefront, the exploration of them is often enormously subtle, something you might miss if you're distracted away from the varying shades by all the storm and stress. People in Bergman often state things very blunty and eloquently, but they often don't mean exactly what they're saying, or the meaning is indicative of something important just beyond the subject which even the character might not perceive. Bergman is very aware of human rhetoric and often uses discrepencies and the manner and method of speech to imply things beyond what is merely being spoken.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:44 am 

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Quote:
As I said earlier, these comments were probably made in Swedish and I'd be interested to know how well their intentions have been translated into English. The whole tone of a comment can be radically altered by the use of a slightly different word. They may well have been more nuanced spoken in their original Swedish words - or maybe not.

I would say they are pretty much the same in english as in swedish.

here are som quotes about other filmmakers by bergman. these ones are much moore positive, and maybe not as funny, but still interesting.

Bergman on Fellini
"We were supposed to collaborate once, and along with Kurosawa make one love story each for a movie produced by Dino de Laurentiis. I flew down to Rome with my script and spent a lot of time with Fellini while we waited for Kurosawa, who finally couldn't leave Japan because of his health, so the project went belly-up. Fellini was about to finish Satyricon. I spent a lot of time in the studio and saw him work. I loved him both as a director and as a person, and I still watch his movies, like La Strada and that childhood rememberance - what's that called again?

The interviewer has also seen the movie several times, but just now the title slips his mind. Bergman laughs delightedly. Bergman: Great that you're also a bit senile! That pleases me. (Later the same day, several hours after the interview, the phone rings. It's Bergman. 'AMARCORD!' he shouts.)"

- Jan Aghed, "När Bergman gÃ¥r pÃ¥ bio", Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 12 maj 2002.

Bergman om Kurosawa
"Now I want tom make it plain that The Virgin Spring must be regarded as an aberration. It's touristic, a lousy imitation of Kurosawa. At that time my admiration for the Japanese cinema was at its height. I was almost a samurai myself!"
- Ingmar Bergman in Bergman on Bergman, 1970

Bergman on Rossellini
"Rossellini's films were a revelation – all that extreme simplicity and poverty, that greyness."
- Bergman on Bergman

Bergman on Sjöström
"Have you seen Ingeborg Holm? It's one of the most remarkable films ever made – 1913!"

"Above all Ingeborg Holm, as I've said, and The Phantom Carriage, but also The Executioner, The Outlaw and His Wife, too, a marvellously well-narrated film."
[...]
"His incorruptible demand for truth, his incorruptible observation of reality. His way of never for a moment making things easy for himself, or simplifying or skipping things or cheating or succumbing to mere brilliance."

"[T]ime has left Stiller's films behind much more than it has Victor's. Ingeborg Holm is still true and gripping; remarkably modern. If run at its proper speed, which is 16 frames a second, it is photographic and scenically quite perfect."

- Ingmar Bergman in Bergman on Bergman

Bergman on Tarkovsky
"When film is not a document, it is a dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn't explain. What should be explained anyhow? He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media."

"Late one evening in 1971, Bergman and his friend and director Kjell Grede by pure coincidence stumbled upon a copy of Andrei Rublov in a screening room at Svensk Filmindustri. They saw it without any subtitles. He ranks it to be one of his most startling and unforgettable movie experiences ever."

- Ingmar Bergman in The Magic Lantern

Bergman on Bresson
"I felt a strong affinity with Bernanos' [the author] and Bresson's Mouchette. It's a film I would have liked to have made myself, but which I didn't understand. In Mouchette the motif is expressed clearly and explicitly, free from all impurities. The girl in Mouchette and the girl in The Devil's Wanton [Prison] are sisters, sisters in two similar worlds. But while The Devil's Wanton is full of quirks and divagation and coquetry and jumps about all over the place, Mouchette is clear as daylight. It's a pure work of art."

"I'm also tremendously fond of The Diary of a Country Priest, one of the most remarkable works ever made. My Winter Light was very much influenced by it."

- Ingmar Bergman in Bergman on Bergman


There were comments about: Carné, Hitchcock, Murnau and Widerberg to but they were only on swedish on the page and i didn't have the time to translate them.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:13 am 
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Well I'm very surprised that this thread has been revived. I should really have included the positive comments in my original post but I don't think I had found them. I particularly appreciate his comments on Victor Sjostrom who I think is one of the great under appreciated geniuses (genii?) of the silent era. I believe in addition to the negatives I posted to start this thread Bergman also very much dislikes the work of Renoir. I'm sure that would be sure to ruffle a few feathers. To be honest I was shocked at the reaction of some people to this thread and the way so many people became angry at Bergman and perhaps at me for posting it. I certainly didn't take Bergman's comments in that way and this attitude is totally incomprehensible to me. I think these reactions came from a genuine passion for film though, and that has got to be a good thing.


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