Two legends, two deaths

Posted: August 4, 2007 in All and Sundry, Art Attacks, film, Musings

two great film directors died recently. ingmar bergman died end of july and then michelangelo antonioni followed suit a few days after. ingmar bergman and michelangelo antonioni died on the same day. they both left many film enthusiasts mourning at the same time grateful for the impressive ouvre they left behind. i’m not going to write an obituary here because i have never met bergman or antonioni in my life and that would be a bit unfair and pretentious on my part. but i have encountered and experienced glimpses of their vision in their films, the ones i was lucky and privileged to have watched.

i saw the seventh seal years ago in some friend’s house. and the most memorable line from the film for me was this: “I want God to stretch out His hand, uncover his face and speak to me.”–Seventh Seal (1957). ms. bette offers an interesting excerpt of the dialogue between God and Block taken from the screenplay of the said film here.

then two years ago, during the cinema europa festival here in davao, my sister rose and i were able to enjoy faithless, a swedish film directed by bergman’s favorite actor and friend liv ullman. the film was of course written by bergman, as traces of his vision can be recognized in the whole stretch of the story. i remember my sister and i sobbing in the most depressing parts of the movie when the characters reveal their emptiness and lack of hope. the most disturbingly heartwrenching part for me was when one of the male characters (a husband) invited his young (around 7 years old) daughter to commit suicide together out of utter sadness. his daughter told him that she was coming to his house to do it and so he waited. but then his daughter had cold feet. and so the man waited for a while until at some point he realized that he grew tired of waiting and so decided go on kill himself. a few minutes after, the daughter arrives in the hopes of convincing her dad to live, and she finds him dead.

of course, seventh seal has a totally different story. but it deals still with the theme of life and death.

as for antonioni, i only saw one film of his, which was blow-up (1966). i found the film unforgettable in the most peculiar way. what surprised me though was ms. bette’s reference to antonioni’s banned 1972 documentary of china titled chung kuo. i admit that i haven’t seen the documentary and have only learned of it in ms. bette’s blog. watch an excerpt of the documentary here. the blog entry also provides a video of the famous single-take closing shot of the passengers.

addtion: and oh, nino told me that brian de palma made a remake of antonioni’s blow-up. haven’t seen it though.

  1. torn says:

    The Passenger is really worth seeing. It is really quite a unique film.

  2. we bought a copy of the passengers last week. but i still have to find time to enjoy it. i will soon. soon. and will blog about it. 🙂

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