Academic journal article Film Criticism

In Memoriam

Academic journal article Film Criticism

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

Although Ingmar Bergman's death had long been anticipated, no more so than by the hypochondriacal director himself, it struck me in a surprisingly personal way when I learned of it yesterday, just days before this issue went to press. I have not felt such loss at the passing of a public figure since the death of Jack Benny, another man who once seemed to me immortal. My initiation into film art, and the cinephilia that has marked my recreational and professional life, began with Bergman. He enthralls me still.

Critics and historians can argue over his artistic merits, but Bergman passes my own private test of filmmaking achievement. I can recall the place and circumstances of watching nearly every new film: the Chelsea Cinema on West 19th Street where I saw Persona alone on a mid-week afternoon, the Student Union at SUNY Buffalo where I watched The Magician on a first date with an uncomprehending young woman I never saw again, a theatre in Pittsburgh where Mary and I made a pilgrimage to see what we thought would be the last Bergman film, Fanny and Alexander.

Although he came to be criticized and parodied for his theatrical style and Scandinavian gloominess, Bergman's innovative contributions to the art of cinema remain fundamentally unchallenged: 1) bringing intellectual content and the emotional force of language to the screen; 2) exploring the expressive potential of prolonged silences; 3) refining the film score to complement what he envisioned as cinematic chamber music; 4) restoring the aesthetic value of the close-up; 5) expanding the compositional qualities of the frame to create unforgettable visual tableaux. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.