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Archive for August 7th, 2019

 © 2019 by James Clark

      Back in 2011, when (at Wonders in the Dark) I foolishly assumed that Ingmar Bergman was one of a small horde of filmmakers (including, Billy Wilder) after something very new, I was years away from comprehending what he had in store. Over the past year or so, I’ve wakened up a bit, to appreciate the momentousness of the range of his concerns, a range, despite good-will, leaving no impact where it really matters.

A constellation of conundrums of intent began to dawn upon me; and putting in place their dynamic has been quite a ride. But the elusiveness of the innovation has proven to be only slightly recognizable. Therefore, it’s time again to return to Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), which provides remarkable immediacy to those staying the course.

    Whereas oracular figures—in Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), Winter Light (1963) and The Magician (1958)—would afford the thrill of seeing fit to trip up facile enforcement, the balance of power in the narratives remains so weighted against extreme change that understanding would almost absolutely trickle away. Similarly, the mea culpa, in Fanny and Alexander (1982), being brought to bear in terms of “the little world” (and its nagging spoiler, “the big world”), tends to be submerged by the Niagara of sturdy foibles. Then there is the perhaps too vague volcano of acrobatics and juggling, stemming from, The Seventh Seal (1957), and flashing over many subsequent entanglements the dark potency of which being lost on most viewers. The recherche dialogue between Eva and her muse, in Autumn Sonata (1978)—though a crucial clearing—becomes a victim of that protagonist’s hysterical self-importance. The action of silence (most salient in Persona [1966] but also on the move in, The Silence [1963] and Cries and Whispers [1972]), tends to be upstaged by the strong suit of survival. A mystical consummation, like that seen in, Wild Strawberries (1957), tends to maintain the status quo even more rigorously. Therefore, our second attention to this visceral production must be intent upon illuminating, as never before, the sensual structures and energies of players who live or die upon a cosmic scale. (more…)

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