Goodbye Mr.Bergman

I still remember that saturday afternoon last summer, when I watched the movie Wild Strawberries. The only thing I knew about the movie was that it was in IMDB top 250 and it was a Swedish film. It was the story of the aging professor Isak Borg - his coldness, his reflections on life, his insecurities, fears and nightmares. It was unlike any movie I had seen till then. If you ask me if I loved the film, I am not yet sure. But, it was something so very different, that it made me think and I could not get it off my head. Then, I got to know about the man behind the movie called Ingmar Bergman.

The next movie I happened to see was his most revered The Seventh Seal. It was a weird movie about a knight who, on his journey through the lands affected by Plague, is confronted by Death who forces him to play chess with him. It did not impress me much and I felt it was a highly over rated movie.

It was when I saw Persona that I was completely bowled over by Bergman. It would be an understatement to say that this black n white movie was very captivating. The mind games played by the actress and the nurse was so surreal, I was left wondering if the drama was taking place in that hospital/island or in my mind. That whole week I was in the Persona hangover.

I followed it up with the very under rated The Silence. Its a story of the emotional turmoil between two sisters - a very symbolic clash of different value systems, masterfully picturized by Bergman and it happens to be my most favorite among his movies. The red-white color combination will always remind me of Cries & Whispers, though very dragging at times, a visually appealing movie. His other non-abstract films which I have seen are - the tense mother daughter union in Autumn Sonata (dont you think its such a beautiful name?), with a brilliant Ingrid Bergman (this movie is the inspiration to the Urmila-Shabana-Diya starrer Tehzeeb!), the teenage passionate affair Summer With Monica, with a very natural Harriet Anderrson oozing raw sensuality, a very depressing almost voyeuristically directed marriage saga Scenes From A Marriage.

If you ask me if Bergman tops my favorite list, I would say no. If any of his movies makes my favorite top 20, it would again be no. Most of his movies are too weird or abstract - that I sometimes feel if he had any concrete script in the first place. But, the affection with which he creates a scene is hard to match. The intensity in his movies is almost frightening. Coincidentally, my other favorite Woody Allen happens to be the biggest fan of Bergman. And nobody can be as depressing as Bergman and I always recommend my friends not to see more than a Bergman movie per week. I still have some movies of Bergman in my "Yet to watch" list. Hope I will see them soon.

Ingmar Bergman passed away yesterday and I felt like writing about him. Thank you Mr. Bergman for giving us those wonderful movies.

13 Comments:

  1. Venu said...
    Damn, I have not seen even one of his movies, i guess you had mentioned this guys name once.

    I have lots of time now to see these kind of movies :)

    Which one should I start with ?
    Anonymous said...
    As soon as I got to know abt Bergman's demise, I checked you blog yesterday. If Kubrick appreciates/adores this guy that just says it all...May his soul RIP.
    krupa said...
    Persona is the most hard-hitting of his movies(I could not sleep that day)...and it is true that his movie are depressing and disturbing.
    His movies are visually enchanting..and I belive that Bergman owes a lot to his cinematographer, Sven Nykvist.I have seen his interviews...he is a very complex man.
    My fav will always be "Smiles of a summer night"(i think this title is very beautiful).Compared to his other movies..this is a very simple comedy about shallow human interactions.
    Fanny and Alexander,his last major movie..is amazing in the fact that it scares you one min and the very next min makes you smile!

    I will forever regret the fact that I never got to see one of his plays!

    All his movies have wonderful names-Virgin Spring,Smiles of a Summer night,Autumn Sonata,Winter Light,Through a glass darkly...

    His movies are haunting and melancholic.There was never a man who made negative emotions more beautiful than Bergman.

    And rest assured,he will live forever through his movies.
    krupa said...
    And another thing...did you know one of his earliest movies was called "A ship bound to India"?
    Bit Hawk said...
    @venu
    I would recommend 'Persona' first. Next should be 'The Silence'. And you can get those movies from me :)

    @anonymous
    I read it in the morning paper and felt like writing about him. (All anonymous commentors - I would love to know who you are, so please mention your names in future)

    @krupa
    I know, Sven deserves as much credit as Bergman for those wonderful visuals. I am yet to see 'Smiles of a summer night' (Inspiration for Woody's 'Midsummer Nights...'), 'Face to Face' and 'Fanny and Alexander'.
    I had not heard about 'A ship bound to India', will check that out.
    Do you remember the first time you had called me from US? We rarely talked about each other, we were mainly discussing Bergman! :D
    Raghu said...
    Hi, I got here from Orkut ('Mysore Bloggers' community). I will explore more.

    Are you aware of the 'Mysore Film Society?' They are screening Bergman's movies tomorrow at Namana Kala Mantapa.

    Bye.
    Madhuri said...
    You seem to be a true fan of Bergman - I have just watched Wild strawberries and I am already quite impressed.
    chronicwriter said...
    i am a movie addict and i love tornatore.. and i like bergman's movies too. never knew he passed away.. time for me to watch some of his movies again.. lovely post.. just loved it
    rekha said...
    though i usually dont want to see a movie and spoil my mood i would like to see these movies
    Bit Hawk said...
    @Raghu
    Welcome to my blog! Yeah I have heard about 'Mysore Film Society', dont know much details, will check it out.

    @madhuri
    Its too hard to ignore Bergman. His movies make me think!

    @chronicwriter
    Tornatore's 'Nuovo Cinema Paradiso' happens to be one of the movies I like very much. Malena is good too. But, Bergman is brilliant in his own different way.

    @rekha
    Even if you dont like depressing movies, I strongly recommend you to try out Bergman movies once.
    prax said...
    damn not seen any of bergmans
    tell me which one u recomend i see first?

    did see some of kurusawa
    like 7 samurai also a classic
    Bit Hawk said...
    @prax
    Among Bergman movies, I would suggest "Wild Strawberries" first, followed by "Persona" and "The Silence" (if you can survive through these, I can give further suggestions) :D

    As far as Kurosawa movies go, I prefer "Rashomon" any day to "Seven Samurai".
    prax said...
    yes rashmon is extremely intense psycological and thought provoking and well made

    but it sadly lacks entertainment values and life which i cherish

    hanks fr the advise will do in due time and give u my report

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