Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ingmar Bergman
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Gunnar Bergdahl
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Swedish, with English subtitles
Running Time: 87
Date: 08/28/1997

The Voice of Bergman (1997)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Swede Movie

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Recorded all in one day, January 13, 1997, The Voice of Bergman is 87 minutes of legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman talking about what he loves the most, the movies. There are very few interruptions or questions. Just Bergman. The result is less of a My Dinner with Andre than it is just a visit with a fascinating uncle who tells you stories as seen through wise eyes, and you get excited, as if you've been let in on a secret.

Among Bergman's topics: film festivals and how much like a circus they are. "I wouldn't want anyone to see Cries and Whispers on the same day as four other films," he says; how critics are actually funny people, and how they don't have enough space or time to really discuss the films anymore; today's filmmakers, and how smart they are; how they know all the technical stuff one needs to know to make a film, but that they don't get to the heart; the filmmaker Jan Troell and his films Hamsun (1996), The Emigrants (1971), and Bang! (1977); His own cinemateque that seats twenty, and his own library of 400 films. Some of the films are: Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage (1921), Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Murnau's films Sunrise, The Last Laugh and Tabu. His favorite films that he can watch over and over are: Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, Nikita Mikhalov's Dark Eyes, Tous les Matins du Monde, and David Lean's Great Expectations.

Very little time is spent talking about his own work, which is fine. Those are films one can see on one's own. Now we are talking to their maker. Bergman talks about "retiring" after Fanny and Alexander from directing, and how he does not regret it. How he still writes. How he does not care to write a novel, because "it won't be finished" (as in, it won't be filmed). I doubt anyone will ever have the chance to see this marvelous film ever again. I'm going to treasure my afternoon spent with Ingmar Bergman.

Best Buy Co, Inc.