Ingmar Bergman

On a Bergman binge:

The Passion of Anna: I don't know--at one point it retreads Shame, which right now I consider my favorite of his films, and there seems to be more emphasis and heat in Bibi's seduction of Max Von Sydow than there is in Max and Liv Ullman's entire relationship. Many wonderful scenes and images and moments of acting, of course; I doubt if Bergman is incapable of making anything outright ugly. But it doesn't quite cohere as satisfyingly as one might wish for.

The Silence: his biggest boxoffice hit, mainly for the nudity and freewheeling coupling that happens in a darkened theater. Tame stuff nowadays, but I like the eroticism--as with horror, Bergman seems far more effective dealing with sex glancingly, in quick vignettes that arise from and are part of the texture of the story's narrative (big contrast with the way sex is often treated in American films: a big buildup, plenty of music, a sense of allowing you to see something shocking, and the final impression that you'd just sat through an aerobics video). Likewise, Bergman's horror seems far more effective when he suddenly roundhouses the side of your head with it, rather than devoting an entire film on the genre as he did in Hour of the Wolf.

Also interesting that while this isn't a silent film, the use of spare dialogue and sound effects in a country where they don't know the language at all only serves to deepen the moments of silence.

Finally, this seems to be some kind of turning point for Bergman, where he finally abandons religion as a panacea for anything, whatsoever--here, God is every bit as sterile and unfeeling as Ingrid Thulin's character.

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