Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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mfunk9786
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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#526 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:07 pm

miless wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:04 pm
2k can have quite a bit more resolution, particularly for 1.33 movies as (depending upon the telecine/scanner used) the width for 2k remains at 2048 pixels, the height can actually expand, pixel-wise, up to 1536 to fit the entire frame. unlike 1080 or 4k which just pillar box to get the narrower frame to fit within the standard-size
Understood, I appreciate both of your corrections on this

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tenia
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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#527 Post by tenia » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:18 pm

I'm learning/realising new stuff too, thanks miless !

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#528 Post by tenia » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:30 am

Chris, about Shame, you wrote that "even though it is also sharing space with another film here, I didn’t notice any issues with compression".
The individual encode is actually exactly the same than the boxset one. Criterion just took the boxset encode for their individual release. Since you reviewed them in this order, it's logical you didn't detect a difference despite that. The movie, however, is quite over-compressed for an individual release compared to Criterion's usual MO, leaving 40% of the BD-50 unused but the movie only having a 22.75 Mbps AVB.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#529 Post by cdnchris » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:55 pm

You're right, and I didn't even think to check the disc contents. I thought the individual edition looked great when I viewed it and was just surprised to see it still looked really good. But now I'm a bit more surprised they didn't open it up more for the individual edition, but then I'm sure it's cheaper to just copy and paste files than to create new ones.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#530 Post by tenia » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:31 pm

I supposed too it was cheaper to C+P'ed the full encode and just have the menu changed to their usual template, but that indeed gives for a strangely over-compressed disc.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#531 Post by Jimmbo » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:58 pm

Question about economics, not artistry (I love Bergman, but that's a different issue).

Can anyone experienced in such things opine as to whether it would be a smart investment to buy for $150, leave sealed, and sell for a profit once it goes out of print?

Between 1. the likely enduring interest and 2. the unlikelihood of many new/sealed copies way down the line, I feel like it would make sense.
OTOH, Criterion may be stamping out so many of these that it will be a super long time before it goes OOP...if ever....

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#532 Post by swo17 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:19 pm

It's not a limited edition so what's your best case scenario--wait 20 years to double your money? You might as well invest in a savings bond

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#533 Post by Shrew » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:33 pm

In his defense, AK25 and Essential Art House both went out of print, so this one probably will too once sales drop below the cost of reprinting. But yeah, there are better ways to invest your money.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#534 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:48 pm

The cost and aggravation of shipping this alone makes me shudder when thinking about potentially selling it

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#535 Post by aox » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:00 pm

I have four sealed copies of The Third Man BD. Are you guys saying my retirement is fucked?

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#536 Post by Jimmbo » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:15 am

swo17 wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:19 pm
It's not a limited edition so what's your best case scenario--wait 20 years to double your money? You might as well invest in a savings bond
Funny. I asked my doctor if I could continue my normal routine despite chest pain, and he said “sure, if you want to die of a heart attack, given that we’ve found congestion?” A good doctor would have simply explained the test results to me, but lots of doctors are arrogant dicks. Hahahaha, oh well. “Limited edition”, duh. Yeah, I’m a moron. Thanks, doc!

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#537 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 am

Sounds like you should stop asking experts for advice.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#538 Post by black&huge » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:18 am

Does this set use the same exact transfer (without further work) for Persona that was for the standalone 2014 release?

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#539 Post by domino harvey » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:25 am

Yes

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A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#540 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:27 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, March 30th.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#541 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:42 pm

Alright, we all own this one in the big set. We're all stuck at home. We're all stress over-reading the news and social media right now. Let's all commit to watching/rewatching this one THIS WEEK and enjoy some escapism and non-CV conversation with each other. Who's with me?

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#542 Post by knives » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:56 pm

(I still haven't bought the set)

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#543 Post by kcota17 » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:02 pm

I’m down. I haven’t seen this one yet but is this the notoriously bad one that’s in the set that you guys were previously talking about?

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#544 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:03 pm

Nope, that’s All These Women. This one is a frothy comedy (and worth watching with Waiting Women, since I always combine the two in my memory!)

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#545 Post by knives » Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:05 pm

Though I like All These Women as a gay pageant of aesthetic.

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#546 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:01 pm

This was my write-up when I watched it in January last year:
“I don’t think man was created first. I’m sure it was woman. On a Saturday morning, in the sunshine, when our Lord was in high spirits. And on Saturday night she was mad that there was no-one to go out with, so God created man, just after dinner, in the middle of a yawn. And since man was only created for company, God wasn’t fussy about form.”

A comedy about the love life of a Swedish gynaecologist whose patients ask questions like “What’s it like watching women undressing all day?” and where a woman yells at her just-ditched former fiancé “You’ve sketched my magnificent bust for the last time!” sounds more like 1970s British softcore fare than anything with Ingmar Bergman’s name on it, but I can’t argue with the evidence. Comedy certainly wasn’t Bergman’s natural idiom – the mere fact that he only got round to making a full-length example after thirteen films as director and four more as screenwriter speaks volumes – but he wasn’t a complete stranger to it either: there are very funny individual moments in several earlier films (including an extended silent slapstick interlude in 1949’s Prison), and in Waiting Women (1952) he convincingly sustained a comedic situation for the film’s entire third act.

That featured Eva Dahlbeck and Gunnar Björnstrand, so it’s no surprise to see them popping up again as the leads here: their comic chemistry was already a matter of public record, and it must have made sense to Bergman to play safe with his casting. In fact, collaboration in general: Bergman wrote their parts specifically for them, and their own input might well have qualified for a co-writing credit if it had gone to any kind of arbitration. (In both Images: My Life in Film, and the introduction to the film that he recorded with Marie Nyreröd – included on the Criterion edition - Bergman describes how Dahlbeck and Björnstrand took a scene that they all agreed had completely failed to catch fire on the page, rewrote it in an hour and brought it vividly to life.)

Bergman may have had qualms about his gifts as a comedy writer (although the film has plenty of effectively snappy exchanges delivered with the effervescent brio of a Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn screwball farce – “Why did we never play and have fun with each other? Can't one act out a little comedy now and then?” / “Not in a country where winter lasts 11 months” – and an incongruously solemn funeral oration is spontaneously delivered after a car engine gurgles itself to death), but he was otherwise amply qualified to tackle the film’s core themes of marriage (he was on his third) and infidelity (ahem). In fact, the otherwise touching scene in which David (Björnstrand) has a heart-to-heart with his wise-beyond-her-years teenage daughter Nix (Harriet Andersson) is rendered doubly unsettling, firstly because Björnstrand and Andersson would later play similar roles in Bergman’s far more psychologically intense Through A Glass Darkly, and secondly because Andersson had already been one of Bergman’s real-life mistresses. (She was 21 at the time of shooting, but is convincingly playing a fair bit younger.)

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Bergman film without its wholly serious elements and, despite regular laughs, A Lesson in Love offers arguably his most complex and nuanced exploration of male-female roles to date. David automatically has a professional interest in what makes women tick, but it’s also a keen personal enthusiasm too – but, as one might expect, he tends more towards professorial theorising than impassioned declaration (“To go chasing after erotic adventure is a pastime for baboons”). When his wife Marianne (Dahlbeck) calls him naïve, he muses on the fact that she’s the third woman to call him that in quick succession. As in Waiting Women, Dahlbeck spends much of the film running rings round him, caring not one jot for traditional gender roles except when inescapably enforced by biology. And Nix’s attitude goes beyond even that: a teenager rebelling against not just her parents and society but also her body, at one point she asks David outright if his gynaecological skills extend to facilitating a full-blown surgical sex change. (The film doesn’t mention this, but it was made not long after Christine Jørgensen became the highest-profile recipient of male-to-female surgical sex reassignment in nearby Denmark, so it was very much a hot-button issue.)

The film’s comedic virtues are more verbal than visual, although there’s a nifty touch when a cuckoo pops out of its clock to break an awkward silence after an embarrassing revelation, and both Dahlbeck and Björnstrand are experts at conveying much with a single quizzical twitch of a facial muscle. “I wonder how Marianne’s doing?”, David wonders at one point, and a shot of her thunderous expression on the other side of the room is as eloquent as any soliloquy. There’s also a nice early moment when David gets out a dauntingly large, black-covered tome to read on a train journey train - a fellow passenger asks its title, and when told that it’s An Introduction to Arterial Circulation in the Uterus and Secondary Sex Glands, Including Their Disorders, cheerfully follows up with “Any pictures?”

Genuinely entertaining though most of it is (although the appearance of an actual cherub at the very end is an uncharacteristically twee misjudgement), at no point does A Lesson in Love suggest that Bergman missed his true calling. Its closest equivalent is one of Woody Allen’s “serious” films in that on its own terms it’s perfectly fine, especially if we’re not aware of who’s behind the camera. But if we are, which is pretty much unavoidable in this case (why else would non-Swedes be watching a 65-year-old Swedish comedy today?), it’s hard not to feel that Bergman is pulling his punches somewhat. Although, to be fair, he was fully aware of this, making the film in the first place because he wanted to know it was like to simply entertain people, and his producer was understandably keen to find out too.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#547 Post by Orlac » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:26 am

Is it logical to expect the new remaster of SEVENTH SEAL on a standalone disc?

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Re: A Lesson in Love (Ingmar Bergman, 1954)

#548 Post by Sloper » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:53 am

MichaelB wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 5:01 pm
the appearance of an actual cherub at the very end is an uncharacteristically twee misjudgement
Yes, this made me cringe when I first saw it, but on a second viewing it seemed more interesting, and I think it ties into a couple of issues that you bring out in your excellent write-up: David's naivety, and by association the film's preoccupation with childishness; and his absorption in his profession, which is a manifestation of Bergman's recurring obsession with the self-absorbed artist.

The Cupid who grins creepily at us as he walks down the hotel corridor is a child, and the fact that he keeps looking at the camera indicates a naive innocence; he's also then visually linked to the music-box marionettes who bookend the film, reminding us of the narrator's arch comment (to the audience) at the start of the film: 'this lesson will be elementary for you, because you're a long way past it - aren't you?' This made me think of the way Persona and The Silence are also framed by a child, or the way Fanny and Alexander begins with the (literally autobiographical) scene of a child playing with his toy theatre.

For A Lesson in Love, I guess the key points are: we are all children deep down; men are childishly absorbed in selfish pursuits; and love in particular requires a childlike attitude.

For all that David is technically a gynaecologist, this is really just the film's way of figuring the artist's tendency to study and use other people, especially women. As Michael points out, Through a Glass Darkly re-visits this theme with two of the same actors, and it's most clearly connected to artistic endeavour in Persona, where Bergman goes as far as appropriating a woman to stand in for himself, robbing her of her voice in the process.

David fantasises about having juvenile story-book adventures in a diving bell, deep down on the sea bed, away from the pressures and responsibilities imposed by other people - but, as an afterthought, with a woman 'on board, helping out'. He tells his daughter not to isolate herself from others because 'life, at its best, is a collaboration' (sounds like a theatre/film-maker), and the 'good times' of his marriage to Marianne are figured either in theatrical or cinematic terms: the farcical abortive wedding ceremony, followed by the alcohol- and bonhomie-soaked after-party; the bravura tracking shot of the woodland walk, with David and Marianne sharing a cigarette, the smoke and the leaves shimmering beautifully in the sunlight.

David is another of these Bergman men who both use and neglect their wives and children, but it's okay because they give him a mercilessly hard time about it, and all shall be well at the end via some quasi-artistic bullshit: here it's David indulging Marianne's desire for 'play' by ambushing her on the train, making her jealous at the bar, and arranging for Sam to take them to a hotel room where a kid in a cheap costume will re-introduce the couple to the innocence and playfulness of eroticism (or something); a few years later, in Through a Glass Darkly, it's the father's poetic platitudes about love, delivered beside a window with an unconvincing back-projection in it.

(Without going into more detail, on the theme of childhood see also: Nix's horror at growing up to be a woman in an adult relationship, her conversation with her grandfather about acquiring wisdom and equanimity in old age, and the way David's parents insist on making him revert to childhood when he's with them.)

There are lots of good things in this film, enough that I'm sure I'll watch it again some day. The flashback structure is interesting, and interestingly complex. As Michael says, there are some lovely moments from the actors. You can always have fun thinking about the staging, composition, and editing in Bergman films (a simple but brilliant example: the sequence of shots when David and Nix have ice cream together). Aside from the aforementioned tracking shot in the woods, I loved the one of David and Marianne arguing beside the canal - notice the twitching curtain in the window above them. (Having said this, there are few glaring boom-mic shadows here and there...)

But overall, this is definitely lesser Bergman for me. There isn't much momentum here, and the philosophical and emotional wrangling isn't quite intense enough to hold my interest. And, as I guess I was hinting above, I find the film's 'lesson' irritating and self-serving. It's hard to enjoy a film that seems to add up to a shrugging, half-baked justification of 'family laziness', to paraphrase Marianne. Or does that seem unfair?

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#549 Post by jsteffe » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:58 pm

Sure, but who knows when that will happen? It took them a long time to announce TOKYO OLYMPIAD after the Olympics box set, and OLYMPIA still hasn't shown up.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#550 Post by A Tempted Christ » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:17 pm

On the other hand, the 4K restoration of Tati's Playtime was never given a standalone Blu-Ray and is only available as part of the Tati box set.

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