Wednesday, 1 August 2007

r.i.p. : ingmar bergman, michelangelo antonioni

It is impossible not to be feel saddened by the loss, within two days, of two of the most revered of auteur figures. I must confess I have not explored Bergman's and Antonioni's oeuvres with the thorougness their reputation demands; I have only seen a handful of Bergman's films, and none at all of Antonioni's (something about the mental image I have of what they are like always makes me decide to put off renting one until next time).

I have never considered Bergman one of my favourite directors, most probably for the illogical reason that I have always associated his name with the crowd of mostly ageing cinephiles for whom the only good cinema is the European arthouse cinema of the 60s and 70s. And yet I cannot deny that The Seventh Seal is almost certainly one of the greatest films ever made; its tortured metaphysical questioning veined with a surreal black humour making it virtually unique and shatteringly affecting. Moreover, in films like Wild Strawberries, Bergman blended metaphysics with agonized, soul-searching character studies, all crafted with a meticulously perfect cinematic eye.His place in the history of cinema and his status as one of the great auteurs is assured and more than deserved.

I'm afraid I can say little about Antonioni, as I know him by reputation alone; however there can be little doubt his name will likewise be etched in the annals of cinema.

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