Ingmar Bergman dies at 89

Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 04:53 am
The great film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) has died at the age of 89.

Legendary Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman has died peacefully at 89. He passed away at his home on the small Baltic islet of Faro, according to his daughter Eva Bergman.

Bergman, whose 1982 film "Fanny and Alexander" won an Oscar for best foreign film, made about 60 movies before retiring from film making in 2003.

In his films, Bergman's vision encompassed all the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom of unending winter nights, the gentle merriment of glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.

Bergman, who approached difficult subjects such as plague and madness with inventive technique and carefully honed writing, became one of the towering figures of serious filmmaking.

He was "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera," Woody Allen said in a 70th birthday tribute in 1988.

Bergman first gained international attention with 1955's "Smiles of a Summer Night," a romantic comedy that inspired the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Little Night Music."

His last work was "Saraband," a made-for-television movie that aired on Swedish public television in December 2003.

When it aired, nearly a million Swedes - or one in nine - watched the family drama, which was based on the two main characters from his previous TV series, "Scenes From a Marriage."

The show starred Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson - two of Bergman's favorite actors - who reprised their roles from "Scenes From a Marriage," which was edited and released as a feature film in 1974.

But it was "The Seventh Seal," released two years later, that riveted critics and audiences. An allegorical tale of the medieval Black Plague years, it contains one of cinema's most famous scenes - a knight playing chess with the shrouded figure of Death.

"I was terribly scared of death," Bergman said of his state of mind when making the 1957 film, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the best picture category.

The film distilled the essence of Bergman's work - high seriousness, flashes of unexpected humor and striking images.

In an interview in 2004 with Swedish broadcaster SVT, the reclusive filmmaker admitted that he was reluctant to view his work.

"I don't watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry ... and miserable. I think it's awful," Bergman said.

Though best known internationally for his films, Bergman was also a prominent stage director. He worked at several playhouses in Sweden from the mid-1940s, including the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm which he headed from 1963 to 1966.

He staged many plays by the Swedish author August Strindberg, whom he cited as an inspiration.

source: agencies, Wikipedia
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 04:56 am
I still remember that I couldn't see one of his films legally: The Silence (1963) (Tystnaden), was only allowed from 16 onwards .... and after I'd been in the cinema, the police started age controls the other day. :wink:
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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 05:37 am
Virgin Spring - my favorite.
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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 07:07 am
I liked Cries and Whispers & Scenes from a Marriage .... & quite a few others, too!
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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 08:09 am

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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 11:26 am
My favourite director of all time has passed away. Over here it feels almost like a day of national mourning; many of the greats of Swedish cinema bear witness of the great debt they owe Ingmar Bergman.

I liked Fanny & Alexander best of all his films, but The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and In a Mirror Darkly also impressed me greatly.
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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 05:11 pm
Sad news, and it brings back a memory of my first encounter with anything Bergman as the screenwriter instead of director which I saw in 1956 at the old Vogue Theater in Hollywood.

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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 11:20 pm
The theme of an evil school environment from Hets (Torment, 1944) was reprised much later by Jan Guillou in Ondskan (Evil, 2003).

Ingmar Bergman was very prolific and a great inspiration to all he worked with. Apart from his over 50 feature films he directed over 120 plays and wrote numerous screenplays. He was named by both Tarkovsky and Kurosawa as one of the greatest influences in cinematography.
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Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2007 11:39 pm
I may sound old, but I think the new generations ought to watch more Bergman films and less special effects, if they want to enjoy cinema.
The only good thing about his death is that some TV channels and cinema-club will start scheduling his works.

We now have great directors, but how many need both hands to count their masterpieces?

In my personal top 50 list, Bergman is the most repeated director, with Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and Fanny and Alexander. The Magic Flute, Winter Light, The Magician (or The Face) and Through a Glass, Darkly are among the top 100.
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Reply Tue 31 Jul, 2007 07:44 am
"The Magician"-- also seen at the Vogue theater and I was dumbfounded during the "he's alive, he's not alive" legerdemain, confirming that it's all done with mirrors. The film also put a new definition on droll, witty humor.
Woody Allen got a lot of inspiration from this filmmaker. Several films contain scenes of direct homage and one is an actual remake of a Bergman film.
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