Bergman, Antonioni, Malaise
"He [Bergman] was a director of the human condition, of the misery of man, of feminine mystery... the last of the greats because he proved that cinema can be as profound as literature." Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes Film Festival
"In the empty, silent spaces of the world, he [Antonioni] has found metaphors that illuminate the silent places in our hearts, and found in them, too, a strange and terrible beauty: austere, elegant, enigmatic, haunting." Jack Nicholson
(While M. Jacob of Cannes is perhaps master of the grandiloquent phrase, let's get something straight: Jack Nicholson might have spoken that quote, but there's no way Jack wrote that quote.)
Don't throw Wild Strawberries at me, but my first thought on hearing of Ingmar Bergman's death was, Oh no! Now we'll be inundated with his boring movies!
And try not to Blow Up when I say I felt double-whammied that Michelangelo Antonioni's death so quickly followed. Wow. Karma. Symbolism squared.
The Grandiose Quote Quotient's already waist high and bound to increase. Artistes, savants and poseurs are coming out of the woodwork with Profound, Erudite Critiques and Deep, Meaningful Discussions of Antonioni's and Bergman's Bodies of Work.
Speaking of bodies, frankly it's a good thing Louis Malle's already dead (sorry, Candace, not personal) or we'd be forced to watch "My Dinner with Andre" until we lost our own lunches.
Boys and girls, I am bright, educated, cultured even. I learned from earliest childhood to appreciate art, music, theater and film. I've visited European and American cultural meccas. Attended my share of Salons, Soirees, Premieres and art films.
I've seen many (too many) Bergman and Antonioni movies start to finish. Complex. Intense. Ambiguous. Cryptic. Impenetrable, Incomprehensible, Unfathomable. UNBEARABLE.
I read, I write, I think. Therefore I am compelled to say it loud and say it proud: These guys are so engrossed in their own self-conscious pretensions only the lonely can pretend to understand or like them.
Which they never wanted anyway. Their point, if you could find it, always seemed, essentially, What's the Point?
Yes, I'm oversimplifying. Sue me. But think how refreshing simplicity can be when compared to the tortuous convolutions in a Bergman or Antonioni film.
If I want Dark, Brooding, Alienated and Tormented I'll take "On the Waterfront" over "Cries and Whispers" or "L'Avventura" any day.
PS Rolling Stone : Postscript: Ingmar Bergman’s Top Rock & Roll Moments