Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bergman at Cinémathèque

Tomorrow is the start of a three-week season of Bergman, screening at ACMI, starting at 7pm. From Melbourne Cinémathèque:
Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) is, simply put, one of the cinema’s greatest directors. Incredibly prolific, directing 63 films & TV dramas & over 170 plays & many operas, his influence on modern cinema is inestimable, let alone his impact on the image of Sweden internationally. He turned many great Swedish actors into household names, including Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow & Bibi Andersson, & his bleak & despairing view of the human condition – of death, illness, betrayal & insanity – are widely appreciated. Yet it is his skill as a consummate artist, his eye for the profound image & ear for pithy dialogue, as well as his masterful handling of his performers that makes the experience of watching one of his films an unforgettable one. This brief but incisive season will include several of his greatest films including his first international success (Smiles of a Summer Night), his personal favourite (Winter Light), a couple of his most influential works (The Seventh Seal & The Silence), & a new restoration of what many consider his crowning achievement (Fanny & Alexander).

Ingmar Bergman (1957) 96 mins PG
Apocalyptic morality tale of a knight (Max von Sydow) engaged in a chess game with death. Set in plague ravaged medieval Sweden, Bergman’s most iconic & quoted film is marked by its extraordinarily powerful imagery, its pictorially evocative feeling for the grim reality of the Middle Ages, & an engaging lyricism that has rarely been matched. This film largely introduced Bergman’s work to wider international audiences & remains one of the endearing landmarks of world cinema. Co-Starring Bergman regulars Bibi Andersson & Gunnar Björnstrand. 35mm print courtesy of the Swedish Film Institute.

8:50 THE SILENCE Ingmar Bergman (1963) 95 mins
Ingrid Thulin, a lesbian intellectual, is sexually attracted to her sister, Gunnel Lindblom, a mother with a strong heterosexual appetite. The final film of Bergman’s loose trilogy on faith is one of his most perfectly realised & unadorned films, oppressive in its atmosphere & disquieting in its human implications. Its focus on shifting identity, female sexuality & psychology mark it as an important precursor to his later landmark work Persona.
Preceded by The Dove George Coe & Anthony Lover (1968) 14 mins. A parody of Bergman’s best-known films. Print courtesy of the NFSA.
The following weeks' screenings are:
Ingmar Bergman (1982) 188 mins M

Ingmar Bergman (1955) 108 mins PG
9:00 WINTER LIGHT Ingmar Bergman (1963) 81 mins PG
Preceded by Foto: Sven Nykvist (Bayley Silleck) 28 mins


Brad said...

I got the feeling from THE SEVENTH SEAL and THE SILENCE that Bergman is quite a sexist filmmaker who presents very stereotypical portraits of women. Good article here: http://tinyurl.com/b9nqq3

Paul Martin said...

I didn't get that impression at all, Brad. That article makes interesting reading, but I'm not convinced. I found his depiction of a crumbling relationship in Scenes from a Marriage one of the most nuanced I've seen, which led me to re-evaluate how I perceived some of his films. I really need to see more of his films to get a sense of where he's at.

Did you like the films? I loved The Seventh Seal, which visually looks like films of the silent era. I related to Antonius' (von Sydow's character) as the war-weary crusader attempting to evade Death.

I saw The Silence at MIFF just after Bergman died, but it didn't affect me then. Seeing it at Cinémathèque was a whole different experience. I thought the night's programme was great, with the short in between a nice touch.

Mattson Tomlin said...

Wish I could be there!!

Matt Riviera said...

Ok that's it, I'm moving to Melbourne.