Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003)

#476 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:21 pm

I'm looking forward to watching Saraband, but even if I keep up my one Bergman a day 2019 rate (Torment on January 1st, Summer with Monika today), I won't be getting round to it until the end of February as I'm watching everything in strict chronological order.

(As a result of which I'd argue that Criterion left out many of the most interesting 1940s titles. I can see why they didn't include the non-Svensk Filmindustri ones, but I think it was a mistake to be quite so doggedly auteurist given that it means that the box doesn't include any of the four 1940s films that were based on original Bergman scripts. And the likes of Alf Sjöberg's Torment and Gustaf Molander's Woman Without a Face and Eva have a more "Bergman" feel to them than many of the films that Bergman himself was helming at the time.)

User avatar
Sloper
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm

Re: Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003)

#477 Post by Sloper » Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:53 am

As usual, it took me two weeks to find time to watch the film club film... Overall, I found this very confusing and messy. As with the recent series of Twin Peaks, the connection between Saraband and its predecessor felt distracting and counter-productive. No doubt that is partly because I was hoping to spend more time with Johan and Marianne – in other words, because I love Scenes from a Marriage so much and wanted to return to the world of that film, which was kind of stupid of me – but it’s also because this film seems to be hopping between more characters and relationships than its running time can cope with.

It’s really much more like Autumn Sonata than Scenes from a Marriage, and I think it would have worked better if it had focused more intensively on either the Johan/Henrik or the Henrik/Karin relationship, with Marianne as the pained bystander – equivalent to the husband in Autumn Sonata. Using her as the ‘frame’ of the narrative, occupying the fringes of this intense family drama for a short time and then retreating, is one of the most effective aspects of the film. I love how this framing device leaves us with so many unanswered questions, and with a sense of the intimacy and insularity of the dysfunctional family dynamics we have briefly witnessed. I also like the idea of following up Scenes with a film about the things that were conspicuously absent from (or left on the fringes of) that film: the parent/child relationships.

But to try and say something meaningful about Johan/Marianne, Johan/Henrik, Henrik/Karin, Henrik/Anna, Karin/Anna, Henrik/Anna/Karin, Johan/Anna, and finally Marianne/Martha (and maybe even Marianne/Henrik, Marianne/Karin, and Marianne/Anna), all in less than two hours, is just too much.

Bergman can sometimes paint on a broad canvas without sacrificing clarity. Fanny and Alexander begins very broadly, then narrows its focus in a way that aligns with what happens to the title characters – and then, in the final stages of the film, our broader knowledge of the Ekdahl family pays off. Or there’s Through a Glass Darkly, where we’re introduced to the four family members in a very precise and economical way from the beginning, and gradually and organically come to understand the complex configurations between them; or Winter Light, which is more meandering, but which maintains its focus on the central character and his inner struggles.

I was longing for this kind of precision and focus in Saraband. Again, that’s partly my problem; I guess Bergman is trying to capture something of the indecipherable chaos that defines real-life families. But I couldn’t help thinking he just hadn’t quite settled on what he wanted to say.

In the making-of documentary on the Tartan disc, he talks about how the core idea of the film is something to do with death, and the difficulty of coping with the death (or loss, in other senses) of people we love. He describes Erland Josephson’s advice to ‘hold onto’ his desire to see his late wife again, even if she is in fact lost forever, and seems to say that this was the main driving force of Saraband. So maybe that’s a unifying element here? Marianne, for all that she gets entangled in this drama for a few weeks, has lost Johan and everything associated with him...but at the end she forms a connection with her daughter (a leftover from her marriage with Johan), having always thought this was impossible. Perhaps, in this sense, the framing narrative reflects something that defines all the relationships in the film; a sense of irreparable loss and damage, coupled with a painful, ongoing desire to reclaim and repair. None of these relationships will ever really ‘work’ – they will remain broken and abusive and dysfunctional – but as in Scenes and Autumn Sonata, the characters will keep plugging away, for better or worse. (Probably worse, I tend to think; it’s not a straightforwardly hopeful message.)

I also had a problem with Julia Dufvenius, who plays Karin. Like Elin Klinga in The Image Makers, she seems to be trying too hard to emulate great performances from past Bergman films. Her relentless intensity feels insecure, and I found it hard to believe or invest in the relationship between her and her father – which I think ends up being the centre around which the whole film revolves. I have a similar feeling about Lars Passgård (as Minus) in Through a Glass Darkly, as if there are certain actors who just aren’t well-attuned to Bergman’s writing or direction.

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#478 Post by Noiretirc » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:48 pm

For what it is worth....

Amazon delivered my IBC in nearly perfect condition. There was a couple of very minor dents on the box, and two or three discs were sliding around inside the disc book.

This thing is gorgeous. I don't think the official photos/video do it justice.

I'm sorry, but as others have alluded, getting discs out is a chore. But bending the disc book page slightly when retrieving a disc is key for me.

I watched Hour Of The Wolf immediately. I'll devour the book later - it is a magnificent looking thing.

User avatar
soundchaser
No longer chasing skirts
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:32 am

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#479 Post by soundchaser » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:24 pm

I've been working my way through the set very slowly, and I'm surprised at how much I've enjoyed these supposedly "lesser" early Bergmans. Dreams was a perfect nightcap after a late shift at work.

Did most people in Sweden think of Bergman as first and foremost a fantastic director of melodrama? Was his status as a towering philosophical auteur an American invention? Because if I'm being honest, I've liked all of these early films more than Persona and The Seventh Seal. They're emotionally grounded and engaging, but with touches of philosophy that deepen without veering into the abstract. It's an amazing balancing act to watch, and I'm glad to see some of the cast members develop over time as Bergman does (for example - I hated Harriet Andersson's performance in Summer With Monika, but she was brilliant in Dreams.)

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#480 Post by knives » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:05 pm

My understanding is he's always been looked at in a skewed way at home with locals prefer many directors over him so even the use of fantastic might not be quite accurate.

Marwood
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:05 am

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#481 Post by Marwood » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:39 pm

Yes, I would concur with knive's statement. As far as the mainstream in Sweden (and the rest of Scandinavia) was concerned, Bergman was for most of his career more known for being an eccentric artist with many infidelities and a wild libido than for being a universally great or loved filmmaker.

Peter Cowie mentions in the extras for The Seventh Seal that this changed somewhat after his death because swedes noticed the outpouring of appreciations and grief from abroad. I tend to agree with his opinion.

Examples of filmmakers whose films were more popular in the general populace in Sweden include Hasse & Tage, Arne Mattson and Bo Widerberg. Basically popular comedies and crime films got more bums in seats than art-house fare.

I really recommend the new documentary series BERGMAN - ETT LIV I FYRA AKTER if you want to get a Swedish take on Bergman. Don’t know if it is available with subs anywhere though.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#482 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:04 pm

See also Hungary, where Zoltán Fábri regularly outpolls Miklós Jancsó, and Béla Tarr doesn't trouble local polls at all.

(That said, on the evidence of the four Fábri films I've seen so far, they may have a point...)

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#483 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:33 am

Surely, Max Von Sydow in Shame is the most annoying character in all of Bergman. He makes Jeff Sessions look positively manly. This most Godardian of Bergman films is a fascinating failure. Nykvist barely saves the day. Interesting that this is being released seperately from IBC (nearly) concurrently. It's like when The Beatles had Ob La Di Ob La Da playing on the radio when The White Album was out. Nevermind. Not every film/song can be Persona/Happiness Is A Warm Gun.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#484 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:38 am

Shame is widely regarded as one of Bergman's best. I think you need more than "Von Sydow is a cuck" here to help us understand your problems with it. Also, what's "Godardian" about it?

Kauno
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:01 am

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#485 Post by Kauno » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:31 am

Marwood wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:39 pm
I really recommend the new documentary series BERGMAN - ETT LIV I FYRA AKTER if you want to get a Swedish take on Bergman. Don’t know if it is available with subs anywhere though.
Is this not the same?

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#486 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:34 am

It would appear to be, and the upcoming BFI release includes the four-part TV version.

User avatar
Rayon Vert
Green is the Rayest Color
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:52 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#487 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:02 am

And Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da rules.

mteller
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#488 Post by mteller » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:14 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:33 am
Surely, Max Von Sydow in Shame is the most annoying character in all of Bergman. He makes Jeff Sessions look positively manly. This most Godardian of Bergman films is a fascinating failure. Nykvist barely saves the day. Interesting that this is being released seperately from IBC (nearly) concurrently. It's like when The Beatles had Ob La Di Ob La Da playing on the radio when The White Album was out. Nevermind. Not every film/song can be Persona/Happiness Is A Warm Gun.
Wow, what a hot take. You sure are a free thinker.

User avatar
soundchaser
No longer chasing skirts
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:32 am

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#489 Post by soundchaser » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:23 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:02 am
And Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da rules.
(Although the alternate version on Anthology 3 is better.)

User avatar
Fiery Angel
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#490 Post by Fiery Angel » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:31 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:33 am
It's like when The Beatles had Ob La Di Ob La Da playing on the radio when The White Album was out. Nevermind. Not every film/song can be Persona/Happiness Is A Warm Gun.
There were no singles from the White Album, so although you could hear many of the songs from that album on radio stations, the Beatles had nothing to do with it. (And Happiness was heard plenty on many stations.)

Now, back to Bergman...

Marwood
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:05 am

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#491 Post by Marwood » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:10 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:34 am
It would appear to be, and the upcoming BFI release includes the four-part TV version.
Ah! I was not aware that this had been released outside of Scandinavia. That’s great :)

I can recommend it for those who want to get a Swedish take on Bergman. There’s also lots of gossip about his sexual dalliances and his period of Nazi persuasion.

Sweden has a long tradition in of female left wing, non-film journalists talking about, interviewing and making documentaries of Bergman, and this film also falls neatly in to this category

By the way, I really like that this box has inspired more debate about Bergman’s films. I hope take part more in this thread as I re-watch his films during the coming weeks.

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#492 Post by aox » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:49 pm

Fiery Angel wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:31 pm
Noiretirc wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:33 am
It's like when The Beatles had Ob La Di Ob La Da playing on the radio when The White Album was out. Nevermind. Not every film/song can be Persona/Happiness Is A Warm Gun.
There were no singles from the White Album, so although you could hear many of the songs from that album on radio stations, the Beatles had nothing to do with it. (And Happiness was heard plenty on many stations.)

Now, back to Bergman...
From Wikipedia:

"However, though no singles were taken from The Beatles (The White Album) in either Britain or America, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" backed with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was released in other markets. The single was a commercial success in countries such as Australia (where it spent five weeks at number one on the Go-Set chart), Japan, Austria, and Switzerland."

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#493 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:19 pm

Sorry, I was....um.....very tired when I made my previous post. And I know where this portion of the thread regarding Beatles is going to end up. It's all my fault. (Can't wait to see what the mods title it.)

(I'm very aware that the Beatles themselves had no decision regarding what was played on the radio from that album.)

User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#494 Post by aox » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:07 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:19 pm
Sorry, I was....um.....very tired when I made my previous post. And I know where this portion of the thread regarding Beatles is going to end up. It's all my fault. (Can't wait to see what the mods title it.)

(I'm very aware that the Beatles themselves had no decision regarding what was played on the radio from that album.)
I apologize if that post came off as dickish. I was surprised as well. Good information though.

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#495 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:00 pm

Not dickish at all. It's wonderful that we can suddenly discuss The White Album in the IBC thread!! (Mods can I suggest "I'm So Tired" for the upcoming edit?)

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#496 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:01 pm

I suggest we'd all be much more interested in you explaining your thoughts on Shame in further detail

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#497 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:19 pm

Clearly I need to watch it again. It was jarring to watch this right after Hour Of The Wolf. Perhaps MVS is supposed to portray weakness and complacency in Shame? It was a performance that left me cold on my initial viewing.

mteller
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#498 Post by mteller » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:46 am

He's pretty much your standard issue Bergman ineffectual male. His filmography is littered with them: Gunnar Bjornstrand in Winter Light, Börje Ahlstedt in Fanny & Alexander, Erland Josephson in Scenes from a Marriage, Stig Olin in To Joy, Gunnar Sjöberg in Wild Strawberries, Åke Grönberg in Sawdust & Tinsel... the list goes on.

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#499 Post by Noiretirc » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:21 am

OK. I do apologize for my ill-informed / embryonic / sleep deprived / embarrassing initial reaction to Shame. I pray that there is no such thing as Blu Ray Rot, because, clearly, I need to tackle and embrace this monumental release for the rest of my days. It's such a wonderful thing.

User avatar
Noiretirc
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:04 pm
Location: VanIsle
Contact:

Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#500 Post by Noiretirc » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:55 am

mteller wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:46 am
He's pretty much your standard issue Bergman ineffectual male. His filmography is littered with them: Gunnar Bjornstrand in Winter Light, Börje Ahlstedt in Fanny & Alexander, Erland Josephson in Scenes from a Marriage, Stig Olin in To Joy, Gunnar Sjöberg in Wild Strawberries, Åke Grönberg in Sawdust & Tinsel... the list goes on.
Although, I was intrigued by the struggles, weaknesses, and challenges that most (I have not seen all of the films mentioned.....thank you IBC) of these males exhibited. I was willing to invest in the back-story of each. Somehow I missed that train with Shame. I was, quite simply, and frankly, fucking annoyed by MVS's character here. I felt no sympathy, no connection, no understanding of his reactions and motivations. And that's on me!! I'll gladly, eagerly dive into this again.

Post Reply