Ingmar Bergman, Faith and Faithfulness

In the beginning there was darkness. Beyond consciousness, straight to the emotions, and deep into the […] Read more

In the beginning there was darkness. Beyond consciousness, straight to the emotions, and deep into the psyche, Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) led us into our heart of darkness, face to face with solitary, vulnerability and torment. A rare filmmaker who epitomized the concept of existential and philosophical relationship drama, the legendary Swedish master has developed an unfathomable film language that is spoken from soul to soul.

A magic lantern lit up the way to his dreams, where he used cinema as an exploration, or exorcism, of personal demons. Monolithic shadow of his father, and the little devil that would eat his toes off in his childhood nightmare, penetrated his characters’ subconscious, revealing themselves in very stark and almost horrific scenes (Hour of the Wolf). In striking visual poetry, he forced us to confront our deepest fear and anxiety that we would rather shy away from.

Bergman’s films are solemn meditation on God’s enduring silence and on the specter of devil. Died at 89, death is an event on which he long contemplated and provided his most famous images – an old professor discovering a coffin containing his own still-living corpse (Wild Strawberries); and a dance of mortality led by the hooded, black-clad figure of Death (The Seventh Seal). He chose to shoulder the austere burdens of questing for the harsh truths about God’s existence and human nature, through the merciless rape and murder of an innocent maiden (The Virgin Spring), and the struggle of a couple to survive a savage war (Shame).

Yet in a tableau of lamentation and emotional violence, he faced life with a ruthless frankness, and didn’t forsake light and hope – illuminated by the enchanting whims of The Magic Flute , and this time his magic lantern reveals his passion for and accomplishments in the theatre.

On Bergman’s centenary, Cine Fan launches a retrospective in honor of the cinematic genius, revisiting his body of work that brought a new level of psychological depth to cinematic arts. More iconic works to come in our Sep/Oct edition.


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