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 Posted:   Aug 12, 2019 - 7:53 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

Simon praised Bergman's films of the 1950s and the 1960s - his reviews of Bergman's 1970s work in "Something to Declare" charts what Simon considers Bergman's decline. Even the Swedish director's most highly celebrated works of this period - Cries and Whispers, The Magic Flute, Autumn Sonata - are not considered up to the level of Bergman's best, despite their good points. Simon tries to find virtues in the fascinatingly weird - but critically savaged - 1977 The Serpent's Egg, but has to admit that Bergman is out of his depth with the political and surreal aspects of its story.

I'll admit that I am hesitant to step out of that 1950s-'60s Bergman "zone" at the moment. Not because of one critic's opinion that those are lesser works, but because those Bergman films reward the viewer with repeated viewings. I'm aure the 1970s works would have me returning to those had I started out with those and worked back.

Having said that, I am looking forward to Fanny and Alexander. The Brits must still get a chuckle out of that title. wink

BTW, I could swear that when I was maybe 11 or so, a friend rented the VHS of The Serpent's Egg and we watched it. I guess I'll find out when I get to it...perhaps it will fire up the olde fading memory o' mine.

... or destroy what's left of it!

 Posted:   Aug 13, 2019 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

The Virgin Spring (1960), is the one Bergman film that I’m slowly--very slowly--starting to appreciate. It’s beautifully photographed, has good performances, and some truly affecting moments, Ove Porath, who plays the boy, gives an outstanding performance, and Max von Sydow is a titan of great acting and is magnificent in this film.

I gave The Virgin Spring a 3/10 the first time I watched it, and I wonder if its status has to do with the US, or the Motion Picture Academy finally catching on to Bergman in terms of recognizing his genius. This won Best Foreign Language Film, as did Through a Glass Darkly (1961), and while I appreciate the latter more now, I feel that the Oscars awarded Bergman for the "wrong" films. His better work preceded and succeeded these two films, but at least I no longer feel animosity towards these two efforts.

My Rating: 6.5/10

 Posted:   Aug 15, 2019 - 6:06 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Started to watch Fanny and Alexander, but there was far too much Alexander and not any fanny! wink

Actually, it looks visually stunning though since it is a Christmas/winter film, I'm going to wait until the end of this year to watch the theatrical version first, and later the television version (all 320 minutes of it).

 Posted:   Aug 17, 2019 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Bergman's early male protagonists are very "FSMer"-like in that beta, milquetoast kind of way, so the women are far more interesting to this viewer. It doesn't surprise me at all that the director quickly developed a reputation as a "women's picture" filmmaker.

Woody Allen has clearly been influnced by Bergman in nearly every way possible, right down to the simple black-and-white opening credits and distinctive font. Allen's own reputation for writing his female characters in a much more interesting way also comes through. Heck, both Bergman and Allen despise clear, sunny days as well!

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