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Ingmar Bergman, R.I.P.

The guy who directed a handful of the best movies I've ever seen (including this one, a perennial best-ever candidate for me, an astonishing film that is probably the finest job directing actors I can think of), has died.

He lived a long life, less than a year short of 90, and had largely said his piece in terms of the cinema; his last movie, the excellent Fanny and Alexander, was finished 25 years ago, and since then he'd confined himself to stage and television work. I have no doubt that stuff was excellent, but it was also next to impossible for an American to see, so I've been talking about Bergman the filmmaker in the past tense for my entire adult life. It shouldn't feel like such a loss that the guy is gone, but it does.

His keen visual sensibility, uncanny ability to handle actors, compelling (if gloomy) tone, and restless, unsweetened humanism shone through in everything he ever did. He made at least ten movies that have the potential to be life-changing experiences, and if you've never done so, rush to your local video store or Netflix queue and do yourself a favor by getting Fanny and Alexander, Scenes from a Marriage, Cries and Whispers, Shame, Through a Glass Darkly, Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, or, especially, Persona.

Pretty much no matter how you define greatness, he was one of the very greatest filmmakers in movie history, and he'll be missed.

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Comments

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archaica
Jul. 30th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)
The only Bergman I've ever seen is the Seventh Seal. A crime, that!
ludickid
Jul. 30th, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
Well, if you've only seen one, that's a pretty goddamn good choice.
lunchcat
Jul. 30th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. I made fun of him just a teeny little bit this morning in my blog. I did like his movies, though!

I just felt the need to confess this. My apologies....
eme_kah
Jul. 30th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
It's already been 25 years since Fanny and Alexander?! Man, I feel old.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 30th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
Gary here...

Have you seen Passion of Anna, Leonard? If you love Bergman, it'll knock you out. It was made between Persona and Shame, and I think those are his three best films, no contest.
ludickid
Jul. 30th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
I have not -- in fact, I haven't seen Face to Face or The Magic Flute, either.
yuriverse
Jul. 31st, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
Hmph, we'd just watched Wild Strawberries the other day, too. Poo; I am sad. Thanks for all the stuff, Ingmar.
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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