Ingmar Bergman

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Big Ben
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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#351 Post by Big Ben » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:56 pm

This reminds me of this hot take the other day where a woman called this dumb as shit gannet (A bird.) a pedophile and rapist. What a steaming load of nonsense.

Bergman could certainly be churlish (And I've seen that mentioned above.) but he never struck me as a misogynist or even someone who delighted in suffering. Quite the opposite actually.

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MichaelB
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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#352 Post by MichaelB » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:14 pm

Surely the gannet tweet was obviously sarcastic? But I think the Socialist Review piece was written with an entirely straight face.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#353 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:23 pm

MichaelB wrote:Surely the gannet tweet was obviously sarcastic? But I think the Socialist Review piece was written with an entirely straight face.
And with half a deck. Click on Bob Light's name if you want to see more of his "insights."

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Big Ben
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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#354 Post by Big Ben » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:25 pm

MichaelB wrote:Surely the gannet tweet was obviously sarcastic? But I think the Socialist Review piece was written with an entirely straight face.
It was not. This woman even went so far to double down on it. She got so thoroughly roasted she eventually gave up (With a non apology.). I mention it only because the sheer absurdity mentioned therein reminds me of how people have a tendency to eschew reality to better suit their own and they have a tendency to do so with the absolute least appropriate subjects.

I still get incredibly uncomfortable watching Cries and Whispers because Harriet Andersson not only managed to emulate the same sounds my grandmother made when she was dying of the same disease (The breathing torments me.). Bergman also himself managed to emulate the way all the skeletons that came out (Sans the glass stuff of course.) during the same process. To say that he didn't understand anything strikes me as deeply contrarian.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#355 Post by MichaelB » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:20 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Click on Bob Light's name if you want to see more of his "insights."
I've already encountered Mr Light's opinion that the BFI's great postwar documentary project (one of the most stimulating I've ever been involved with, because it was charting remarkably untravelled territory) amounted to "cultural toxic waste".

(Again, his beef seems to be that films mostly backed by industrial concerns failed to adequately chart the class struggle. Which has in turn reminded me of a wonderfully absurd review of Terence Davies' The Long Day Closes - not in Socialist Review, but in a very similar vein - which berated Davies for not mentioning Suez, the Hungarian uprising or the concurrent break-up of the Left, as though these issues would have had even the tiniest impact on the film's young protagonist.)

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furbicide
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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#356 Post by furbicide » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:52 pm

I just really want to know why it's taken until now for someone to point out Bergman's disgusting fetish for women's faces. The veritable Tinto Brass of faces, some might say! ;)

Oh, and I like how Bo Widerberg's (whose name our esteemed correspondent doesn't even spell correctly) '60s denunciation of Bergman's lack of attention to social realism and overt focus on 'the personal' is cited approvingly. I mean, I have no issue with All Things Fair, but you made your bed, Bo...

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#357 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:26 pm

Yes, let's attack one of the greatest writers of multifaceted and complex women's roles for being a misogynist, I'm sure no one will think to check the evidence

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#358 Post by MichaelB » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:37 pm

I'm sensing a very quick skimming of this Guardian piece, missing or cynically ignoring numerous qualifications and footnotes.

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furbicide
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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#359 Post by furbicide » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:48 pm

The funny thing is that these people wouldn't have been at all out of place in the Swedish press of the '60s or '70s; they hated Bergman's guts too! A classic case of tall poppy syndrome, then and now.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#360 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:53 am

furbicide wrote:The funny thing is that these people wouldn't have been at all out of place in the Swedish press of the '60s or '70s; they hated Bergman's guts too! A classic case of tall poppy syndrome, then and now.
There was a wonderful documentary a few years ago about ABBA's Swedish roots that included many similar interviews from people in the Swedish folk scene of the time who were appalled by what sellouts they were.

(Lasse Hallström was also one of the talking heads, but he was much nicer about them - justifiably, as he got a very significant career boost from being their official music video director.)

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#361 Post by Oscilloscope » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:43 pm

Pleased to announce we'll be releasing the previously mentioned von Trotta doc, INGMAR BERGMAN – LEGACY OF A DEFINING GENIUS, later this year.

O-Scope

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#362 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:15 pm

MichaelB wrote:
furbicide wrote:The funny thing is that these people wouldn't have been at all out of place in the Swedish press of the '60s or '70s; they hated Bergman's guts too! A classic case of tall poppy syndrome, then and now.
There was a wonderful documentary a few years ago about ABBA's Swedish roots that included many similar interviews from people in the Swedish folk scene of the time who were appalled by what sellouts they were.

(Lasse Hallström was also one of the talking heads, but he was much nicer about them - justifiably, as he got a very significant career boost from being their official music video director.)
I wonder if that aspect factored into ABBA the Movie, directed by Hallström, which features as a structuring device between the performances a storyline about a journalist trying and failing to get an interview with a band as they move from concert to concert. There's certainly some humour at the expense of journalists going on throughout that film!

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#363 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:46 pm

I saw Passion (or Passion of Anna) this weekend at Film Forum - I hadn't seen it in years, but watching it now, it feels unsatisfactory. I generally prefer Bergman's later work, but while I do admire the film's ambition, it didn't really come together for me.

Bruce Goldstein held a post-screening discussion with Ullman, and when he pointed out that Bergman had tried his hand at some of Godard's ideas (specifically the interviews with the actors), she said Bergman actually regretted putting those into the film. I can't say I'm surprised - again, I do prefer Bergman in this mold, experimenting in ways that seem inspired by the same modernist filmmakers he famously put down in interviews, but this time around, most of the experiments don't really pay off. (The interviews, the improvisation at the dinner table, etc.) The final shot remains wonderful, and the acting as usual is impeccable, but I came away thinking this was actually one of his lesser efforts.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#364 Post by razumovsky » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:10 am

On the theme of good and not-so-good Bergman films, I was wondering if there were any forum members willing to put the case for Serpent's Egg? I saw it recently at the BFI Southbank, mostly out of curiosity as to whether it could really be as bad as its reputation suggests. To be honest, a lot of it was, but in sometimes interesting ways. The luminous acting and astonishing concentration he achieves in most of his films is absent here, and instead there are some atrocious performances (David Carradine's semi-comatose effort must be the worst in any Bergman film) and a dreary sprawl that never seems to get anywhere. That said, I thought that the use of space and architecture was fascinating, and really alerted me to how good at this Bergman could be, especially later on in his career. The parts of the films where Bergman is taking Expressionist forms and experimenting with them were exhilarating, and reminded me of what he went on to do with the design in Fanny and Alexander.

That said, the Nazi kitsch is very hard to get past. I don't think I was alone in feeling relieved when the film was over.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#365 Post by dda1996a » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:48 am

Watched this long ago, but I remember that while it didn't feel like a Bergman film, I really liked its off kilter atmosphere and the milieu Bergman captured. The ending in particular is bonkers

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#366 Post by Pepsi » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:39 pm

It's to blame the Swedish tax authorities:

From Roger Ebert:

Bergman left his beloved Sweden in 1976, charging that the tax authorities were hounding him (a charge that the Swedish courts later upheld). He flew to California to meet with Dino De Laurentiis, who would eventually sign him to direct "The Serpent's Egg." And he became the subject of an anecdote by the great Bergman-watcher, Mel Brooks.

"When Bergman left Sweden," Brooks said, "he complained about the persecution, the metaphysical anguish, the impossibility of realizing himself as an artist, the impotence created by the welfare state, the creeping Big Brotherism of the state ... When he left California three weeks later, he complained about the heat."

Maybe the point is that Bergman is best as a filmmaker on his native ground, no matter how unhappy he may feel there. In Sweden, during 35 years and with more than 30 films, he made only four comedies. One of them was successful ("Smiles of a Summer Night"). Two of them were passable. One was the worst film he has ever made ("All these Women"). But in his dramas -- those brooding, lonely, and violent excursions into the human soul -- he made some of the greatest films that ever will be made. And they all drew directly from his experiences in Sweden.

"The Serpent's Egg" was filmed on location in West Berlin, in English, with only one performer who had worked with him before Liv Ullmann. It was set in 1923. Bergman knew the country slightly, and he knew the period through old memories (he was sent as a young boy to live awhile with a German family through an exchange program, and remembers first hand the beginnings of Nazism). But it's clear that he did not know Germany, 1923, or Nazism well enough to make this film. It's sad and perplexing but true: This film owes more to "Cabaret," an American musical, than it does to whatever insights Bergman may have thought he had about his subject. The moments when the film rings true are when he returns, even unwittingly, to some of the obsessions of his Swedish films: when, for example, an American priest played by James Whitmore protests that he feels himself powerless, and we are reminded of the anguish of the ministers in "Winter Light" and "Cries and Whispers."

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#367 Post by jbaker3049 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:33 pm

I just noticed this on the blog section of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation website. There is a Swedish DVD collection being released in May with English subtitles.

Shame the release is DVD rather than Blu Ray but it says that most of the the films are from new remasters. It also has some (I think) previously unreleased films.

Oddly, it has all films up to Fanny & Alexander but none from the period after.

I managed to order a copy on discshop.se costing me £220 (British pounds) including postage.

Expensive but feels like a good opportunity to upgrade all my DVDs while waiting for a complete Blu Ray set. It’s limited to 2000 copies.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman

#368 Post by nolanoe » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:32 am

I once encountered an individual who similarly claimed that Bergman (and Godard) were misogynists. He also claimed that "only young men on the internet" like Gaspar Noé (a favorite of many women-friends in their 20s/30s) and that "the Criterion Forum is a bunch of elitists". If I remember correctly, he tried to dig into Bergman by going on and on about Wagner... What can you say? It might be the same guy.

Like, we got some real bs in this, folks. "When you know that during the shooting of Persona Bergman was in the process of dumping Andersson and taking Ullmann as his new lover" - I think this is factually disproven, innit? As far as I remember, Bibi and Bergy had split prior, no?

As for The Serpent's Egg - YES; I very much love to defend that film. It might be in my top 5 of his, up there with Fanny and Alexander, Hour of the Wolf, Persona... you name it.

It might help that I'm from Germany. The almost apocalyptic horror-landscape he builds (grizzly deaths and all) is genuinely frightening in a way so visceral and personal it outdoes the similar (but not as successful) Despair (Fassy).

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