Sweedish film director Ingmar Bergman died two years ago. He was one of my favorite film directors, and I wrote this in my old blog the next day (although I’ve updated it for 2009).
The world of movies lost a great one, as Ingmar Bergman died yesterday.
Bergman has a special place in my heart, as he was the director that showed me how film can really be art. The quality of his work is stunning, to say the least.
I don’t want to sound like a film snob – I like prettymuch all types of movies. I’m a fan of arthouse stuff, and I also like a summer popcorn movie as much as the next guy. But there is a profound difference in “Transformers 2” (and similar) and a film like Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”.
With the summer popcorn movie (or any mainstream film), you may remember a line of witty dialog, maybe a character or two, or perhaps an action scene. You leave the theater and say “wow, that was really good”. And then you go on. Which is great – I love being entertained by a fun movie. I just bought Watchmen on BluRay the other day – it’s just a seriously “fun” movie.
But watching something like The Seventh Seal (or The Virgin Spring, or Wild Strawberries, to name two other Bergman classics) is different. I believe films like this actually enrich your life and make you a more complete person. You come out not remembering one particular “cool” scene (although Max Von Sydow playing chess with Death in The Seventh Seal is a pretty famous scene), but with a wonderful feeling… you know you saw something profound and great, but you can’t quite put your finger on what makes it so great. I’ve never seen the real Mona Lisa, but I’m told the effect is similar.
If anyone hasn’t seen a Bergman film (or any “great” cinema for that matter) and wants to explore a little, let me give you one piece of advice that will help: carve yourself out some time to do such. You can’t watch a movie like The Seventh Seal with interruptions from kids or life or whatnot. You just can’t. You need to sit still for two hours in the dark and really watch it. And don’t expect to be “entertained” by it like you would be with some action movie, crime story, or relationship drama.
Instead, watch it and absorb it.
You’ll come away a better person. Trust me.