Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

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bunuelian
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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#501 Post by bunuelian » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:30 pm

To be fair, Liv Ullman's character has much the same reaction to him that you do.

Been ages since I've watched Shame, but I've long taken Von Sydow's character to be an anxiety-ridden introvert who simply can't cope with the disintegration of the the symbolic order to which he's accustomed. His country is disintegrating, and as he fails to react appropriately to that, his marriage follows, leaving him staring into an abyss that is both material and psychological. (A contrast to his character in Passion of Anna, who at least isn't threatened with an invading army, but otherwise is similarly ruined.)

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#502 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:00 pm

And he doesn't do all that well in Hour of the Wolf, either! (This was my first rewatch from the big set, and it's still one of my favourite Bergmans, a genuinely creepy art-horror hybrid.)

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#503 Post by Noiretirc » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:31 pm

Hour Of The Wolf had a powerful effect on me. After watching MvS's character suffering immense torment for two films in a row, (where I deeply connected to his torment in one, but felt mere ambivalence about it all in the other), I decided to take a break with Faro Document. Sheep slaughter? Meh.

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Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#504 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:24 pm

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#505 Post by mizo » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:32 pm

mizo wrote:Coincidentally, I'm giving a presentation on Hour of the Wolf next week, so that one definitely gets my vote. I might even have some shocked reactions from Bergman neophytes come discussion time, haha (assuming it continues to lead the field)
Well, there were no torches and pitchforks. I actually thought it would either bomb totally or be a huge hit but, while it definitely wasn't a hit, the people who disliked it were still very generous and open to my arguments in its favor. One guy even told me "I hated the movie, but I loved your presentation." Still not sure how I feel about that!

My approach in presenting on the film was to try and give some context regarding where Bergman's headspace was in the late 60's and what particular aspects of the film I thought most displayed his peculiar artistry. In particular, I talked about the visual pride of place given to faces, and the meaning to be found in the way light plays off them (thinking particularly of the sequence where von Sydow strikes matches in the dark and watches them die out while he and Ullmann wait for the sun to rise - the quivering light on his face deepening and also abstracting the pathos of his disturbing story about being punished as a child) and also his modernist approach to narrative, likening the striking discrepancies and elisions in this film to lacunae that give it a sort of haunting, unfinished quality. For me, that's the source of a lot of the film's interest, as Bergman has a way of involving the viewer in the active piecing together of what are really fragments towards a film, instead of a complete and coherent narrative. The movie is loaded with strange little details - one of my favorites is when, during Liv Ullmann's opening monologue, she mentions mysterious footprints found in the mud around their house and then...we never hear about it again. It's like there are vast amounts of story and meaning lying just beyond the margins of the frame, and it makes the whole thing seem strangely unsettled and organic.

I also briefly noted the film's relationship with The Magic Flute, which is referenced in the puppet theater scene and clearly has some parallels with the story. I don't know the opera well enough to understand the scope and significance of all those parallels (it was obvious that the reference to an endless night that has to be endured had some resonance with this film). Is there anyone here who does and can offer some insight?

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#506 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:09 pm

Finally was able to watch this the other night, and it's certainly extremely striking and seemingly ripe for an analysis re: Bergman's biography and psychological state at the time that I'm not capable of at the moment; I'd love to hear more of mizo's (or anyone else's) thoughts on those contextual elements! Even without that context, this lands right now somewhere in the upper third of Bergmans I've seen, with some indelible imagery and definite potential to improve that standing with further consideration.

I'm not much of a Bergman scholar — or much of a scholar on anything else, to be clear — so these observations might be well-tread territory, but:
  • To build on mizo's point on the prominence of faces, there were also multiple scenes where the faces of those in the background — whether Ullman's deepening concern during a couple von Sydow's monologues or Ingrid Thulin's Veronica Vogler grinning menacingly behind von Sydow during his breakdown in the castle — are just as fascinating to watch as those of the more prominent speaker.
  • Another element that I thought was significant (and which I'd be particularly interested to hear others' thoughts on) was how heavily Bergman emphasizes the film's artificiality: the audio running under the opening credits of a film crew preparing for a scene — down to the director calling "Action!" — before the opening shot; Ullman's bookending monologues to the camera as if in a documentary; and the unusually heavy use of ultra-high contrast, artificial zooms, and/or cuts to magnified segments of a shot at key moments of tension or action. These all seem designed to remind the audience of the produced nature of what they're watching, which seems to run counter to the interests of psychological horror, a genre that usually aims to be as immersive and involving as possible to bring the audience into the characters' mindset.The glass is shattered, but what do the splinters reflect?
  • Finally, two comparison points kept popping into my head as the film spiraled deeper into paranoiac dream logic:
    Rosemary's Baby, which came out the same year and similarly features a woman struggling with an unreliable partner, a group of malevolent older neighbors, and an unclear relationship between internal and external realities. In Hour of the Wolf, of course, the male character is the object of attention from those dark forces, with Liv Ullman's Alma basically a witness to their grip on von Sydow's Johan. I ultimately find the gender dynamics in Rosemary more interesting than the tortured artist motif in Wolf, but the intriguing breadcrumbs mizo mentions left by Bergman hinting at a larger picture withheld from the audience make for a memorably unsettling viewing experience.
    — I don't know this for a fact, but it seems unimaginable that this wouldn't have been a key influence on David Lynch; the line Johan delivers in the castle — "The line has been crossed... The glass is shattered, but what do the shards reflect?" — could be the epigraph to half of Lynch's filmography.
Very happy to have been given the excuse to watch a film that seems particularly open to so many lines of interrogation, though I wish I had been able to do so earlier in the week to drum up a bit more discussion!

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#507 Post by dadaistnun » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:14 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:09 pm
[*]Another element that I thought was significant (and which I'd be particularly interested to hear others' thoughts on) was how heavily Bergman emphasizes the film's artificiality: the audio running under the opening credits of a film crew preparing for a scene — down to the director calling "Action!" — before the opening shot;
When I saw this at the Eastman House back in the mid-90s (as part of a travelling Bergman festival sponsored by Absolut Vodka), the print they ran had extra footage at the beginning and end. The opening had the footage that goes with that audio of Bergman discussing the film with Ullmann and von Sydow, leading up to the shot that opens the film proper (Ullmann addressing the camera). At the end of the film, there were several shots/jump cuts of (and my memory is probably imperfect here) sets being taken down, camera equipment being disassembled. To the best of my recollection, the person introducing the film (one of the museum curators) made no mention of this. I was very surprised by it - I had already seen the film multiple times via the MGM tape.

I'm no expert on Bergman, either, so I don't know if this version has ever popped up on home video or television anywhere.

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#508 Post by Big Ben » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:42 pm

dadaistnun wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:14 pm
I'm no expert on Bergman, either, so I don't know if this version has ever popped up on home video or television anywhere.
Imdb has some more information on this under their "Alternate Versions" section for the film.
There exists an earlier version of the film with an additional, meta-cinematic framing device. In the prologue (lasting about 7 minutes), Bergman is seen on the set directing his actors. The epilogue (lasting about 1 minute) shows us the set being torn down and the crew leaving. These sequences are the only differences to the commonly seen version. Bergman has stated in an interview that he cut off these sequences himself before the general release of the film, as he came to the conclusion that they were just "self-deception". Despite this, a Swedish 35 mm print of the original, longer version does exist, although it's not available on home video in any format.

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#509 Post by BenoitRouilly » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:55 pm

This is one of my favourite Bergman (especially for the work of Sven Nykvist at the cinematography!) with Persona, Scenes from a Marriage, The Passion of Anna, From The Life of Marionettes, After The Rehearsal, Cries and Whispers...
What I like best is Nykvist's high-contrast Black & White photography, especially the remembrence/dreamscape scene with the little boy on the shore.
The night confession around a lit matchstick or an oil lamp could be compared to Béla Tarr's similar scene in The Man from London or The Turin Horse with faces lit against a black background.

But the most obvious references are Bergman's own films :
I see Persona (1966) of course, which is a companion piece, and 2 years earlier, steming from the same bedridden stay at the hospital where nightmares fed into what would become Persona and Hour of the Wolf. This hospital stay is also reflected on the opening sequence of Persona with the young boy with glasses laying in bed under a white sheet in a white room, and haunting faces on the wall. We notice the same framing of faces (close ups) sharing in pair the screen surface. A device much more pronounced in Persona where the faces split into one another.

But also Shame (1968) and The Passion of Anna (1969) also companion pieces. And maybe Through a Glass Darkly (1969)

Outside Bergman's oeuvre, I'm recalling The Wicker Man (1973), which has a very different tone, but similar atmosphere and subject matter. The protagonist is seduced by a naked woman and invited by a castle host who seems to dabble in pagan sorcery. The ending is also similar :
SpoilerShow
The dead young woman is alive and the protagonist disappears haunted by (folklore) monsters.
But Eyes Wide Shut (1999) as well comes to mind, albeit with reverse gender roles (for Kubrick the man is jealous of the woman's adultary, or perceived one and undergoes a nightmarish journey to overcome his jealousy)

Finally I recall Insomnia (1997) for the sleepless nights tourments of the protagonist.

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#510 Post by BenoitRouilly » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:04 pm

mizo wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:32 pm
I also briefly noted the film's relationship with The Magic Flute, which is referenced in the puppet theater scene and clearly has some parallels with the story. I don't know the opera well enough to understand the scope and significance of all those parallels (it was obvious that the reference to an endless night that has to be endured had some resonance with this film). Is there anyone here who does and can offer some insight?
I haven't seen The Magic Flute or know about the opera, but I noticed a visual sign (the line of shadow across Lindhorst face as he's behind the puppet theatre, looking on his audience, draws the form of a beak over his mouth as if he was wearing an opera mask reminiscent of the Venice carnival masks):

Image
Lindhorst as Papageno

Image
Papageno mask

Also at the end, the face of Lindhorst is associated with a crow in a rapid (soviet) montage, à la Eisenstein (in Strike I believe)
His face in close up. A crow. His face. A crow. (the famous Kuleshov effect)

Image
Lindhorst

Image
A crow (à la Hitchcock's The Birds)

Image
Lindhorst (with a high contrast lighting that emphacises his nose as a beak)

Image
A crow
Last edited by BenoitRouilly on Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#511 Post by BenoitRouilly » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:25 pm

mizo wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:32 pm
In particular, I talked about the visual pride of place given to faces, and the meaning to be found in the way light plays off them (thinking particularly of the sequence where von Sydow strikes matches in the dark and watches them die out while he and Ullmann wait for the sun to rise - the quivering light on his face deepening and also abstracting the pathos of his disturbing story about being punished as a child)
BenoitRouilly wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:55 pm
What I like best is Nykvist's high-contrast Black & White photography, especially the remembrence/dreamscape scene with the little boy on the shore.
The night confession around a lit matchstick or an oil lamp could be compared to Béla Tarr's similar scene in The Man from London or The Turin Horse with faces lit against a black background.
Image
Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman in the dark, lit by a match (Hour of the Wolf)

Image
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr)

Image
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr)

Image
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr)

Image
The Man From London (Béla Tarr) with the same actress as in The Turin Horse (above) plus Tilda Swinton

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Re: Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman, 1968)

#512 Post by domino harvey » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:50 am

I watched La chamade a few days ago and Catherine Deneuve cheats on her boyfriend by claiming to see this movie and instead going to a concert with Michel Piccoli

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#513 Post by swo17 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:59 pm

Interesting...my set just arrived from the Criterion flash sale and it says on the back "First Printing 2018"

Having made roughly $350 of profit selling off my individual Bergman titles plus the first pressing at Christmas, I must say I'm very pleased with this set so far!

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Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#514 Post by movielocke » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:24 pm

Is there any instance of them ever removing or otherwise updating the “first printing” copy that is on the vast majority of their back covers? Even when they’ve had major recalls and subsequent reprinting I think I remember the “first printing” language remains the same on the back covers.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#515 Post by domino harvey » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:25 pm

Wasn't Walkabout's edited?

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#516 Post by ianthemovie » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:52 pm

My copies of Dressed to Kill, Night of the Hunter (in the plastic case), and The Leopard all say second printing...

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#517 Post by jsteffe » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:20 pm

We just screened the new DCP of Cries and Whispers at Emory University. It's the same 2017 restoration as on the Blu-ray in this collection. I can't speak to the authenticity of the color grading, but I thought it looked very nice. The flesh tones looked solid and faces really stood out, which I feel is critical for what Bergman and Nykvist were trying to achieve. In contrast, I think the restoration on the earlier Blu-ray pushed the reds too far.

What a powerful film on the big screen! And an incredible artistic accomplishment.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#518 Post by swo17 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:43 pm

I've updated the first post of this thread with comprehensive details for this release, and also prepared the following summary of comparisons with the prior Criterion releases. If anyone has any clarifications or corrections to make, please let me know and I can update this post.

Early Bergman Eclipse

• IBC is missing liner notes

Summer Interlude

• Different 2K transfer from standalone BD release

Summer with Monika

• Same 2K transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing 1958 review by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard from booklet

Sawdust and Tinsel

• IBC is missing essay by critic John Simon and appreciation by filmmaker Catherine Breillat from booklet

Smiles of a Summer Night

• Same HD transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing 1961 review by film critic Pauline Kael from booklet

The Seventh Seal

• Different 4K transfer from standalone BD release
• IBC is missing annotated illustrated Bergman filmography, restoration demonstration, and essay by Peter Cowie from original DVD edition

Wild Strawberries

• Same 2K transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing stills gallery and essay by Peter Cowie from DVD edition

The Magician

• Same HD transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing excerpts from a 1990 tribute to the film by Olivier Assayas from booklet

The Virgin Spring

• Same 2K transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing essay by screenwriter Ulla Isaksson and the medieval ballad on which the film is based from booklet
• IBC is missing letter by Bergman from booklet for DVD edition

A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman

• IBC is missing audio interview from 1962 with actor Gunnar Björnstrand
• IBC is missing illustrated audio interview with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, recorded in 1981
• IBC is missing essays by Peter Matthews, Peter Cowie, and Leo Braudy from booklet for DVD edition

Persona

• Same 2K transfer as standalone BD release
• IBC is missing excerpted 1977 interview with Bibi Andersson from booklet

Cries and Whispers

• Different 2K transfer from standalone BD release with cooler color timing
• :: kogonada essay moved down toward bottom of the list of special features
• IBC is missing essay by Peter Cowie from original DVD edition

Scenes from a Marriage

• Same HD transfer as standalone BD release
• Theatrical cut compressed to about 60% of the size of the standalone BD release to make room for Saraband

The Magic Flute

• IBC is missing essay by Peter Cowie from booklet for DVD edition

Autumn Sonata

• Different 2K transfer from standalone BD release with darker color timing

Fanny and Alexander

• Different 2K transfers from standalone BD release for both the theatrical and television versions of the film
• Same HD transfer as standalone BD release for The Making of "Fanny and Alexander"
• IBC is missing essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur from booklet

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#519 Post by domino harvey » Thu May 30, 2019 2:47 pm

swo17 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:43 pm
• :: kogonada essay moved down toward bottom of the list of special features
Haha, not down far enough if it's still accessible! Thanks for the rundown, swo!

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#520 Post by cvarrick » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:50 am

"Fanny and Alexander

• Different 2K transfers from standalone BD release for both the theatrical and television versions of the film
• Same HD transfer as standalone BD release for The Making of "Fanny and Alexander"
• IBC is missing essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur from booklet"

Does anyone know if the compression issues on the tv version (from the bluray) were fixed for this big box set?
Thanks.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#521 Post by tenia » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:52 pm

I got a response from Mulvaney to my email regarding Smiles of a Summer Night :
"I connected with the producer of BERGMAN'S CINEMA and it seems that we're aware of the book having a misprint. In fact, the same master for SMILES was used in our box set and in the single Blu-ray edition. The error will be corrected on a future printing of the book."

Also, for Swo :
- Smiles is a HD transfer, not a 2K one.
- Scenes from a Marriage TC is the same transfer but with almost half the video bitrate (30.58 Mbps for the individual release, 18.33 Mbps for the IBC version) because Saraband shares the same disc.
Last edited by tenia on Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#522 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:55 pm

2K = HD, they both indicate 1080p.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#523 Post by tenia » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:02 pm

I make the difference because the lab workflows are actually different, especially regarding the digital tools and ways of working that evolved overtime (on top of the scanners also evolving in parallel). This was confirmed to me by Jérome Soulet, head of video marketing for Gaumont when talking of the differences between some of their BR re-releases, the first using a HD transfer and the second a 2K restoration (I think it was for La folie des grandeurs).

Additionnally, HD transfers refer to older masters while 2K restoration almost systematically means a fresher one, hence why the difference can be revealing.

However, HD sometimes means the restoration was performed solely for video with no DCP output at all in mind. In this case, 2K pretty much equals HD, and it's almost entirely a question of exact resolution. Explained to me by Carlotta for their Spermula release.

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#524 Post by miless » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:04 pm

2k can have quite a bit more resolution, particularly for 1.33 movies as (depending upon the telecine/scanner used) the width for 2k remains at 2048 pixels, the height can actually expand, pixel-wise, up to 1536 to fit the entire frame. unlike 1080 or 4k which just pillar box to get the narrower frame to fit within the standard-size

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Re: Ingmar Bergman's Cinema

#525 Post by swo17 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:06 pm

Thanks tenia, I've updated my post

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