Ingmar Bergman 1918-2007

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Oedipax
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#226 Post by Oedipax » Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:55 pm

portnoy wrote:Can you post it for those of us who don't have TimesSelect?
Speaking of which, thankfully this will apparently be a thing of the past in the near future. The NYT is planning on offering all their content online for free, including their archives. Wise decision, I think.

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duane hall
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#227 Post by duane hall » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:22 pm

Woody Allen wrote:and I am sure he would have been only too glad to barter each one of his films for an additional year of life. This would have given him roughly 60 more birthdays to go on making movies; a remarkable creative output. And there's no doubt in my mind that's how he would have used the extra time, doing the one thing he loved above all else, turning out films.
Well that sorta thing could go on forever.

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Oedipax
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#228 Post by Oedipax » Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:23 am

Bertrand Tavernier gets involved in the Rosenbaum-Bergman-Ebert debate.

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MichaelB
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#229 Post by MichaelB » Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:38 am

I liked his sideswipe at Truffaut about attacking British cinema - Tavernier is one of the most scarily knowledgeable experts on the subject that I've ever come across (he and Scorsese would give most British scholars a run for their money!)

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david hare
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#230 Post by david hare » Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:49 am

Tavernier's reply to Ebert throws up some fascinating reflections as well on the old Tradition de Qualite arguments of the Cahierist critics and the relegation of people like Duvivier to minor status, completely igmoring their greatest work. This and other issues have already begun to be canvassed here on at least two threads but I probably depart from Tavernier over the issue of cinephilic inclusiveness and the neccsity to comstantly re-examine not only the recieved wisdoms of the zeitgeist, let alone one's own canon, and the consequently constantly changing nature of one's own evaluations of cineastes. In that regard I am really with Rosenbaum, although the one issue Rosenbaum does not address - and should - in his op-ed is the enormous influence Bergman had over the Swedish industry in terms of both performers, technicians and crews and the impactt he had on the creation of a new Swedish cinema, long after the demise of Sjoberg and Sjorstrom (vale his relationship with Sjoberg in Miss Julie.)

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duane hall
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#231 Post by duane hall » Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:40 am

I wish Rosenbaum's original op-ed was argued more carefully (and written less hastily). As it is, some pointless assertions (a bizarre number of them, really) detract from his intent, to which I'm sympathetic.

Anyway, most of us here know that Rosenbaum is much more helpful than reviewers like Ebert for anyone ready to venture beyond the canon, and I appreciate him a great deal for that and his uncomplacent, often critically tough opinions. He makes Ebert's writing seem sappy and superficial by comparison. "Tavernier vs. Rosenbaum" -- gimme a break, Rog.

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david hare
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#232 Post by david hare » Sat Aug 11, 2007 5:22 am

You're absolutely right about that but I think Rosenbaum had a deadline and the NYT decided to ramp up a mini media frenzy (and let's face it Bush is boring -- 'BANISH THE BEIGE!")

The whole thing is actually proving to be a most wonderful distraction from the day to day toils of ordinary folks (like me, and you and everything). Tavernier is hugely more provocative in his denunciation of the Cahierist Trad de Qual line in the "letter to Roger" routine, even though Truffaut is dead, and I think at least as provoactive as Rosenbaum. This is so much more FUN than the usual mindless blather.

Sortini
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#233 Post by Sortini » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:47 am

Yes, Truffaut may have been too harsh concerning the English cinema. However, I can't help remembering a sign in the window of a Moroccan restaurant that advertised "English Cooking" and how incredibly strange that looked.

As you remember, Truffaut said English Cinema was contradictio in adjecto like English Cooking.

Of course, nowadays London has some of the best chefs in the world.

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Michael Kerpan
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#234 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:17 pm

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=1139

He makes many interesting points -- one of which is that newspapers no longer afford sufficient space or time for anything much more comprehensive than drive-bys....

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tartarlamb
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#235 Post by tartarlamb » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:15 am

I enjoyed the Bordwell article, but Rosenbaum continues to confuse me:
4. Moreover, I have absolutely nothing against Bergman having used blond and blue-eyed cast members, nearly all of whom are extremely talented as well as Swedish. My objection is only to the way this use and practice became "a brand to be adopted and emulated"-- by Woody Allen, among others.
Huh?

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tavernier
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#236 Post by tavernier » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:37 am

I guess Woody's casting Max von Sydow in "Hannah and Her Sisters" made Bergman's actors a "brand" to be avoided. It sounds as if Rosenbaum wanted these actors to retire after Bergman did, so poor Rosenbaum wouldn't be reminded of those awful movies they were in.

And one note on the Bordwell article: he says he gave up after "Serpent's Egg," so he didn't catch up with "Cries & Whispers" and "Scenes from a Marriage" until much later, but where was he when those films were released 5 or 6 years before "Egg" came out?

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colinr0380
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#237 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:48 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:He makes many interesting points -- one of which is that newspapers no longer afford sufficient space or time for anything much more comprehensive than drive-bys....
Reminds me a lot of Noam Chomsky talking about concision in the media in the Manufacturing Consent film!

An excellent article - I tried to write something in response to the Rosenbaum article but it came out a little muddled. The general gist was that I felt we need to separate personal reactions to films and filmmakers from studying where they fit in the canon of cinema. It doesn't mean that personal reactions are not as important, but that we need to be able to take a step back and see that films, filmmakers, styles or genres we might not like have the right to their place in making the world of cinema what it is. As much as I personally don't like the films of my favourite punching bag Michael Bay, his films have certainly got a place in the culture and are probably pushing the boundaries of blockbuster Hollywood filmmaking. Getting past the dislike could, if I had the ability to write such a piece, let me talk about editing patterns, characterisations and other filmmaking techniques that would talk about his films in a more useful way than just saying "Michael Bay sucks!" (even if that might be the eventual outcome of my piece, just with more analysis involved!)

I also don't particularly like weighing one filmmaker up against another to say that one is not as good, or rubbishing one person's films to big up a personal favourite filmmaker. It seems to me that every filmmaker has their own strengths and weaknesses or areas that they prefer to work in or not, and judging their latest film based on their previous work is often much more useful for discussing a filmmaker (though it is also important to have an awareness of other filmmakers working at the same time, other cultural influences, and a sense of the historical period in which the films were made).

I don't ever want to be made to choose between Bergman or Antonioni as to who was 'better' - it is a ludicrous attempt at ranking diverse and special talents in their own right.

(This perhaps brings us back to that old chestnut about the usefulness of making lists - I'm fond of lists for the general purpose of getting an impression of likes and dislikes or finding out about films that would be worth tracking down because a lot of people seem to have gotten something from them. The problem comes when a general list becomes a canon and the suggestion becomes that a particular film or filmmaker has to be the best film or filmmaker in all cinema, or when we get carried away because Vertigo is at position 2 under Citizen Kane etc. Cinema is a much more important than that - just watching the 100 or so 'best' films or 'best' filmmakers doesn't mean that the rest of film is not worth seeing or that you've even seen what many become your very favourite film. That's the beauty of cinema - there is often something amazing and worthwhile in any film, even if it is just an actor, a scene or a moment)

The most important thing is giving people access to films so they can appreciate them for themselves and decide whether they find value in them or not. So while I don't agree with Rosenbaum's piece I do approve strongly of some of the articles he writes bringing other filmmakers to my attention (especially in his Global Discoveries on DVD articles in Cinema Scope).

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Mr Sausage
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#238 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:55 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I don't ever want to be made to choose between Bergman or Antonioni as to who was 'better' - it is a ludicrous attempt at ranking diverse and special talents in their own right.
Many people don't seem to make the distinction between what they like better and what is better, which are not the same things at all. It's too easy to indulge oneself by starting at the entirely arbitrary and accidental position of one's taste and extending that into the realm of arguable fact. Consequently, many seem loathe to admit the accidental nature of their likes and dislikes by making things objective: thus Bergman, since I like him more, since he has moved me more, must be doing something better than Antonioni, must indeed be the better filmmaker. That doesn't really follow, does it?

It's true, I do like Bergman more than Antonioni, but I refuse to argue that one is better than the other because I know the variable here is not one or the other filmmaker but myself. I much prefer to argue the merits of a film based on internal aesthetic evidence, not whether it matches up to certain favourites of mine. So I'm careful to make the distinction between what I like and what is aesthetically good because, like colinr0380 says, it's ludicrous to qualitatively rank intense luminaries on the basis that they glow from different substances, or are alight with disparate colours.

There is, however, merit in comparing films that attempt the same kind of things, illuminating the faults of one by its collocation with the strengths of the other.

Actually, I find I like negative criticisms less and less these days because they just end up underlining the various vanities and biases of the critic. The negative criticisms I really enjoy come within positive appraisals because they are less likely to spring from any vanity or falseness and because they render the actual praise more careful and considered.

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colinr0380
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#239 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:28 pm

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kinjitsu
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#240 Post by kinjitsu » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:23 pm

The Woody Allen piece in the New York Times is now available to regular subcribers: The Man Who Asked Hard Questions

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Person
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#241 Post by Person » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:46 pm

BBC 2's Arena showed a documentary on Bergman called, Encountering Bergman at 23:20 tonight in the UK. I missed it. Did anyone see it?

Oh, Woody Allen on the death of Bergman, if you are interested.

Bergman and Bibi Andersson on The Dick Cavett Show (!) from the early 70s: PART 1 - PART 2

Beautiful woman. Terrible dress. :wink:

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colinr0380
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#242 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:40 am

Person wrote:BBC 2's Arena showed a documentary on Bergman called, Encountering Bergman at 23:20 tonight in the UK. I missed it. Did anyone see it?
It was a pretty decent introduction to the man and his films based around interviews with three people who themselves interviewed Bergman - Melvyn Bragg (who interviewed Bergman in the 70s as part of his first South Bank Show season), Olivier Assayas and Marie Nyreröd.

Bragg and Assayas start by commenting on Summer With Monika (apparently it was the first subtitled film that Bragg saw and inspired him to follow the rest of Bergman's career). There are clips from that film, The Seventh Seal (the chess game), Winter Light, The Silence (the mother covering her son in her perfume before they go to bed), Persona, Wild Strawberries, Cries And Whispers, Smiles Of A Summer Night and Scenes From A Marriage (which also includes a picture of the cover of British television listings magazine Radio Times from the 70s, when it was apparently a big deal - I couldn't imagine a subtitled Swedish mini-series getting the front cover these days!)

There is documentary footage from the making of Fanny and Alexander documentary (the section where Bergman is directing the boy in the first scene and the funny part where he is showing the logistics of how the dance around the apartment is interrupted by the couple breaking away for a moment to arrange a clandestine meeting, with the husband ending up in line next to his wife!), and some footage from behind the scenes of Persona and Saraband. Also some nice, if brief, footage from a BBC report from the set of The Virgin Spring in 1959 which I had never seen before, though the film is never mentioned by name.

The programme ends with Marie Nyreröd talking about Bergman's love of music in his retirement and makes a nice connection back to To Joy.

Since the documentary was created before Bergman's death it was a little disconcerting to hear them say at the end of the documentary that "Bergman has now retired definitively". No kidding!

So nothing that we wouldn't have known already from watching the DVDs of Bergman's films, and there was no mention of any of the early films other than To Joy, nor Through A Glass Darkly, The Magician, Face To Face, the comedies, Autumn Sonata, any of the sixties films after Persona, any of the later films apart from Fanny and Alexander, or any of the films he wrote for others to direct after his official retirement from filmmaking.

However it was a much better tribute than the Paxman travesty was, and as the main purpose of the documentary was to provide the reminiscences of the three people who had the opportunity to interview him rather than to be pressed into service to act as a eulogy I can forgive the programme itself for not being comprehensive.

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#243 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:54 pm

To add a bit of context, the programme was originally broadcast (unnervingly presciently) on July 14 - the relevant BBC website page is here.

So any criticisms of lack of comprehensiveness should be offset against the treasure trove offered by the other two documentaries shown that night, also in the Arena strand. These were Marie Nyrerod's Bergman and Faro Island and Bergman and the Cinema, two hour-long documentaries largely revolving around a delightfully candid and comprehensive interview with the man himself.

Unless the BBC could only afford one-off broadcast rights, I can't believe they won't be repeated at some point - they'd get far more people watching in the light of Bergman's death than they must have done a month ago. But what I really hope is that they'll pick up the third Nyrerod documentary, devoted entirely to Bergman's stage work - apparently that's the most interesting of the trio, because it's the least familiar. (This was the reason the Arena head honcho refused to buy the rights at the time: he thought it was too specialist)

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colinr0380
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#244 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:26 pm

MichaelB wrote:Unless the BBC could only afford one-off broadcast rights, I can't believe they won't be repeated at some point - they'd get far more people watching in the light of Bergman's death than they must have done a month ago.
More people watching if they showed it on BBC2 as well! :wink:

I'm shocked that BBC4, which is supposed to be dedicated to the arts, felt that third documentary to be too specialist even for them and the people who can receive their channel! Maybe somebody will pick up the films for DVD?

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tavernier
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#245 Post by tavernier » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:40 pm

Michael Feingold in the Village Voice on Bergman's theater work.

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essrog
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#246 Post by essrog » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 pm

Owen Gleiberman on Bergman and the Rosenbaum kerfuffle. Unfortunately, at the end he takes the same approach as Rosenbaum, disparaging other directors to champion his.

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colinr0380
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#247 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:59 pm

Glenn Kenny on the Rosenbaum piece, including a comment from the man himself!

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domino harvey
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#248 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:09 am

Rosenbaum has placed Sawdust and Tinsel on his Ten Best List :shock:

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psufootball07
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#249 Post by psufootball07 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:52 am

Ok, so these two articles made me laugh, the second one is Ebert pretty much bashing this entire article about Ingmar Bergman being extremely overrated?

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swo17
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#250 Post by swo17 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:05 am

I just did a Google search for "ebert + rosenbaum = true love" and came up with 7,320 hits!

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