Monday, July 30, 2007

Thanks for scaring me to death, Ingmar Bergman

The great Ingmar Bergman passed away in his bed this morning. Sweden, as well as the world, is paying respect to the greatest filmmaker of the 20th century (at least according to Woody Allen, and he should know).

To me, Ingmar Bergman will always be synonymous with the Christmas of 1984. I was 10 years old and my family spent the holidays with my grandmother and grandfather on a small island on the west coast of Sweden, Bohus Malmön. It was dark, cold, and windy and the big thing on TV (only two channels provided by the state back then) was Bergman’s masterpiece ”Fanny and Alexander” [IMDB here].

The movie (shown in a couple of parts, as I remember it) totally changed Christmas that year and I remember spending loads of time thinking about death and what I guess we can call materialism. The children – Fanny and Alexander – were forced to move to a priest and could not bring any of their toys or other possessions. A scary thought to a boy obsessed with a lot of belongings connected to the football team IFK Göteborg, such as the autographs of all players in the squad that won the league the same year.

How can I remember all this? I have a scary memory (ask my family) and in retrospect, that Christmas made me realize how much ”culture” (movies, plays, books, etc) can affect me. Thanks, Ingmar Bergman, that Christmas scared me and sparked an interest that would provoke me to watch films on a very regular basis. And in 1987 I was again scared to death by a movie as dad sneaked us into the cinema so that we could see ”Full Metal Jacket” [a decision he regretted some two hours later; to see a guy blowing his head off with a rifle, sitting on a toilet in a military camp, is not ideal for a 13 year old]. But that is another story.

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Anonymous Kenny said...

Han gjorde filmer med Viktor Sjöström som är född ungefär hundra meter från där jag bor. Men jag gillar "Sjunde inseglet", när han spelar shack med döden:)

Eric, varför finns inte jag med i länklistan? haha förlåååt:P

31/7/07 12:39  
Blogger Veronica said...

I was a girl of 10 or 11 when my father first took me to see Det sjunde inseglet (The Seventh Seal). Imagine taking a young girl to see a black and white existentialist film! But I thought it was fascinating and that was the beginning of my love affair with the cinema.

I used to have a higher tolerance for violent films, such as "Full Metal Jacket". The first time I saw that film, it didn't bother me so much (but I saw it on DVD, not in the cinema, as I was only two years old in 1987!), but I couldn't watch it again today. I thought that violence in film was supposed to desensitize us so that we didn't mind violent acts so much! It has had the opposite effect on me.

I think it's a bit curious that everybody is now rekindling interest in Bergman because he died. Well, any reason to get interested in the greatest film artist of modern times is good enough, but why does he have to die for some people to gain an interest?

Are you really a Liverpool supporter? I like Chelsea FC!

2/8/07 01:05  

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