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Added by Noctem on 18 Aug 2011 03:36
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Ingmar Bergman: opinions

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"It must have been 1933. I'd already been to the cinema a lot, but The Phantom Carriage was the first really big cinematic experience. Even now I can't really make out what is was that captured me so utterly."
"The Phantom Carriage is still one of my great film experiences. I see it in my cinema every summer."

"Have you seen Ingeborg Holm? It's one of the most remarkable films ever made - 1913!"

"Above all Ingeborg Holm, as I've said, and The Phantom Carriage, but also The Executioner, The Outlaw and His Wife, too, a marvellously well-narrated film."
"His incorruptible demand for truth, his incorruptible observation of reality. His way of never for a moment making things easy for himself, or simplifying or skipping things or cheating or succumbing to mere brilliance."

"[T]ime has left Stiller's films behind much more than it has Victor's. Ingeborg Holm is still true and gripping; remarkably modern. If run at its proper speed, which is 16 frames a second, it is photographic and scenically quite perfect."
"Rossellini's films were a revelation – all that extreme simplicity and poverty, that greyness."
"Now I want tom make it plain that The Virgin Spring must be regarded as an aberration. It's touristic, a lousy imitation of Kurosawa. At that time my admiration for the Japanese cinema was at its height. I was almost a samurai myself!"
"I felt a strong affinity with Bernanos' [the author] and Bresson's Mouchette. It's a film I would have liked to have made myself, but which I didn't understand. In Mouchette the motif is expressed clearly and explicitly, free from all impurities. The girl in Mouchette and the girl in The Devil's Wanton [Prison] are sisters, sisters in two similar worlds. But while The Devil's Wanton is full of quirks and divagation and coquetry and jumps about all over the place, Mouchette is clear as daylight. It’s a pure work of art."

"I'm also tremendously fond of The Diary of a Country Priest, one of the most remarkable works ever made. My Winter Light was very much influenced by it."
I think he's a very good technician. And he has something in Psycho, he had some moments. Psycho is one of his most interesting pictures because he had to make the picture very fast, with very primitive means. He had little money, and this picture tells very much about him. Not very good things. He is completely infantile, and I would like to know more–no, I don't want to know–about his behaviour with, or, rather, against women. But this picture is very interesting.
Average listal rating (111 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
I suppose I must have a particular weakness for silent films from the second half of the twenties, before the cinema was taken over by sound. At that time, the cinema was in the process of creating its own language. There was Murnau and The Last Laugh, with Jannings, a film told solely in images with a fantastic suppleness; then his Faust, and finally his masterpiece, Sunrise. Three astonishing works that tell us that Murnau, at the same time as Stroheim in Hollywood, was well on the way to creating a magnificently original and distinct language. I have many favourites among the German films of this period.
Carné and Julin Duvivier were decisive influences in my wanting to become a filmmaker. It was between 1936 and 1939 when seeing Carné's Quai des brumes, Hôtel du Nord and Le jour se lève, and Duvivier's Pépé le Moko and Un carnet de bal had a huge impact on me. I told myself that, if I ever managed to become a director, that was how I wanted to make films, like Carné! Those films affected me enormously.
Average listal rating (188 ratings) 8.9 IMDB Rating 0
A French critic cleverly wrote that "with Autumn Sonata Bergman does Bergman." It is witty but unfortunate. For me, that is. I think it is only too true that Bergman (Ingmar, that is) did a Bergman.... I love and admire the filmmaker Tarkovsky and believe him to be one of the greatest of all time. My admiration for Fellini is limitless. But I also feel that Tarkovsky began to make Tarkovsky films and that Fellini began to make Fellini films. Yet Kurosawa has never made a Kurosawa film. I have never been able to appreciate Buñuel. He discovered at an early stage that it is possible to fabricate ingenious tricks, which he elevated to a special kind of genius, particular to Buñuel, and then he repeated and varied his tricks. He always received applause. Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.
Among today's directors I'm of course impressed by Steven Spielberg and Scorsese, and Coppola, even if he seems to have ceased making films, and Steven Soderbergh — they all have something to say, they're passionate, they have an idealistic attitude to the filmmaking process. Soderbergh's Traffic is amazing. Another great couple of examples of the strength of American cinema is American Beauty and Magnolia.
Antonioni has never properly learnt his craft. He's an aesthete. If, for example, he needs a certain kind of road for The Red Desert, then he gets the houses repainted on the damned street. That is the attitude of an aesthete. He took great care over a single shot, but didn't understand that a film is a rhythmic stream of images, a living, moving process; for him, on the contrary, it was such a shot, then another shot, then yet another. So, sure, there are some brilliant bits in his films....[but] I can't understand why Antonioni is held in such high esteem.
When film is not a document, it is dream. That is why Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams. He doesn't explain. What should he explain anyhow? He is a spectator, capable of staging his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most willing of media. All my life I have hammered on the doors of the rooms in which he moves so naturally. Only a few times have I managed to creep inside. Most of my conscious efforts have ended in embarrassing failure–The Serpent's Egg, The Touch, Face to Face and so on.

I have a horror of tags and labels. I don't understand, for instance, how people can talk about Bergman's 'symbolism'. Far from being symbolic, be seems to me, through and almost biological naturalism, to arrive at the spiritual truth about human life that is important to him.
I've never been able to appreciate any of his films, nor even understand them....I find his films affected, intellectual, self-obsessed and, as cinema, without interest and frankly dull....I've always thought that he made films for critics.

“The cinema is not a craft. It is an art. It does not mean team-work. One is always alone; on the set as before the blank page. And for Bergman, to be alone means to ask questions. And to make films means to answer them. Nothing could be more classically romantic.”

Whole article by Godard about Bergman: bergmanorama.webs.com/godard_july58.htm
He is enormously intuitive. He is intuitive; he is creative; he is an enormous force. He is burning inside with such heat. Collapsing. Do you understand what I mean? The heat from his creative mind, it melts him. He suffers from it; he suffers physically from it. One day when he can manage this heat and can set it free, I think he will make pictures you have never seen in your life. He is rich. As every real artist, he will go back to his sources one day. He will find his way back.

I don't go much to the movies, I don't follow it much. I make films with such passion that I am not able to be a spectator. However, I have seen some films–the author of today's films that I admire the most and find most congenial and that I feel as a brother is Bergman. I have seen only two films, Wild Strawberries and The Silence, but they were enough to make me love him as a brother, a milk brother.
I liked Truffaut enormously, I admired him. His way of relating with an audience, of telling a story, is both fascinating and tremendously appealing. It's not my style of storytelling, but it works wonderfully well in relation to the film medium.

I can identify with what Bergman says about life, about what he says about love. I identify more or less with his attitude toward the world...towards men and women and what we do in everyday life...forgetting about what is most important.
Average listal rating (385 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
"For me he's just a hoax. It's empty. It's not interesting. It's dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of - is all the critics' darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it's a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie's got is absolutely unbelievable. Aghed: How about The Magnificent Ambersons? Bergman: Nah. Also terribly boring. And I've never liked Welles as an actor, because he's not really an actor. In Hollywood you have two categories, you talk about actors and personalities. Welles was an enormous personality, but when he plays Othello, everything goes down the drain, you see, that's when he's croaks. In my eyes he's an infinitely overrated filmmaker."

I don't condemn that very northern, very Protestant world of artists like Ingmar Bergman; it's just not where I live. The Sweden I like to visit is a lot of fun. But Bergman's Sweden always reminds me of something Henry James said about Ibsen's Norway–that it was full of 'the odour of spiritual paraffin.' How I sympathize with that!....I share neither his interests nor his obsessions. He's far more foreign to me than the Japanese.
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I have always admired him, and I wish I could be a equally good filmaker as he is, but it will never happen. His love for the cinema almost gives me a guilty conscience.
I believe Bergman, De Sica, and Fellini are the only three filmmakers in the world who are not just artistic opportunists. By this I mean they don't just sit and wait for a good story to come along and then make it. They have a point of view which is expressed over and over and over again in their films, and they themselves write or have original material written for them.
Average listal rating (115 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
It seems to me that there is no other contemporary director whose work is so frequently filtered through the murky windows of "opinion"; there are no other films as deserving of simply being seen without being pre-analyzed as those of Ingmar Bergman.

I'm no expert; I see films the same way everyone else does: as part of an audience. I know that seeing a film is a "subjective" process–i.e. you only see the film which the "objective film" up there on the screen projects on to your inner eye. I think that's even truer of Ingmar Bergman's films: we see "ourselves" in them, but not "as in a mirror", no, better than that, "as in a film" ABOUT US.
I can identify with what Bergman says about life, about what he says about love. I identify more or less with his attitude toward the world...towards men and women and what we do in everyday life...forgetting about what is most important.
I like Bergman, but I don't think he's inspired me much. I've possibly been inspired by his attitude as an artist, which is that he takes himself completely seriously despite working within an artform that's often stupid and infantile.
His greatest international breakthrough came with Cries and Whispers...And after that I don't think he's made any good films. My favourite is the trilogy around Persona, with The Silence and Persona and Winter Light. [Note: Persona is not a part of this trilogy; Through a Glass Darkly is.] Extremely important films. Persona is very interesting, and I also like his older films, but I can't stand Fanny and Alexander.
I don't regard Bergman as a religious film-maker. I think he's an atheist and he's saying there's nothing beyond this life. But that doesn't stop him from being spiritual and humanist.
The situation is that a thread has been cut off and it's been very difficult for the generation that came right after the nouvelle vague. Filmmakers like André Téchiné, Philippe Garrel, Jacques Doillon, Benoît Jacquot, Chantal Akerman, or in a significantly different context, Jean Eustache and Maurice Pialat, all have had to reinvent–without the support of film theory–a relationship to cinema. They are the ones who had to rebuild something. And whatever they rebuilt certainly benefited the following generation, meaning mine. And one of the important things they did–consciously or unconsciously–is that they substituted Bergman to the nouvelle vague. They found a symbolic father figure in Bergman that helped them redefine an intimacy with actors, a way to express the existential issues of their generation, reformulate the continuity between writing and filming, in a completely different way. If I had to define where Bergman's legacy is, I would say everywhere in French cinema.
Average listal rating (361 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
His winning speech [Lust, Caution] from Venice reads as follows:

"During the pre-production of this film I got a chance to visit Ingmar Bergman on his island of Fårö. James Schamus and I actually were invited to his house, and we stood in the courtyard outside with him, where he had been waiting for us. He hugged me and touched my face the way mother touches ac child. Tonight I pass on to all of you that hug – it was meant for you not me, for all the keepers and lovers of the cinema, and I dedicate this award to his memory."

Face to Face met Ang Lee in Stockholm 2007.

In a previous interview you have mentioned Ingmar Bergman’s Nordic light as a source of inspiration to Lust, Caution, can you explain that?

At the climax of the film I made a trip to meet Ingmar Bergman. He really rejuvenated my impression about the movie. I was almost about to give up the project when I came to that island and witnessed the light, the air, the feeling, the cleaning effects. Especially those sunsets, I wanted to do the sunset effect in the Nordic light, with the Scand painting school. So that's the light I tried to put in the movie, that yellow haze that becomes kind of orange. And in the shadow part, you have the purplish pink which looks like a diamond ring. From the point when we see the diamond ring to when she [Wang, the main character] is arrested, that climax; I wanted that light.

You know, when I wanted to be a filmmaker I was first inspired by Ingmar Bergman's movies. When I was nineteen and saw The Virgin Spring, I just thought my innocence was taken. How can anyone question God with such beauty? I was just dumbstruck; I didn't know what to do.
Average listal rating (943 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
On one level there are the general run of filmmakers who supply the public with good, solid entertainment year after year. Above them are the artists who make films that are deeper, more personal, more original, more exciting. And finally, above them all, there's Ingmar Bergman, who is probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera.

The Seventh Seal was always my favourite film, and I remember seeing it with a small audience at the old New Yorker Theatre. Who would have thought that the subject matter could yield such a pleasurable experience? If I described the story and tried to persuade a friend to watch it with me, how far would I get? 'Well,' I'd say, 'it takes place in a plague-ridden medieval Sweden and explores the limits of faith and reason based on Danish — and some German — philosophical concepts.' Now this is hardly anyone's idea of a good time, and yet it's all dealt off with such stupendous imagination, suspense, and flair that one sits riveted like a child at a harrowing fairy tale. Suddenly the black figure of Death appears on the seashore to claim his victim, and the Knight of Reason challenges him to a chess game, trying to stall for time and discover some meaning to life. The tale engages and stalks forward with sinister inevitability. Again, the images are breathtaking! The flagellants, the burning of the witch (worthy of Carl Dreyer), and the finale, as Death dances off with all the doomed people to the nether lands in one of the most memorable shots in all movies.
Bergman is prolific, and the films that followed these early works were rich and varied, as his obsession moved from God's silence to the tortured relations between anguished souls trying to make sense of their feelings.

I was very saddened by the death of Ingmar Bergman. He was a friend and certainly the greatest film artist of my lifetime. ... He told me that he was afraid that he would die on a very, very sunny day and I can only hope it was overcast and he got the weather he wanted.

I think his films have eternal relevance, because they deal with the difficulty of personal relationships and lack of communication between people and religious aspirations and mortality, existential themes that will be relevant a thousand years from now. When many of the things that are successful and trendy today will have been long relegated to musty-looking antiques, his stuff will still be great.

Interview about meeting Bergman and more:

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