Archive for The Devil’s Eye

Ingmar Bergman on the Lavatory

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2019 by dcairns

Finally started delving into our big Bergman Blu-ray box set. Since June is here and the temperature has promptly plunged, we slid SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT into the Maidstone and enjoyed visiting an idyllic movie I hadn’t seen since I was 19 (in BBC2’s Film Club)and which Fiona had never experienced.

It really works, this one, proving that Bergman COULD do comedy. Unlike ALL THESE WOMEN and THE DEVIL’S EYE, it never tries too hard, in fact it seems to forget about being funny for half an hour at a time. But the broad comedy (the flatulent jalopy, for instance, and everything involving Jarl Kulle (below), also star of the other two Bergman romps) seems to fit quite comfortably within the dramatic sections.

There’s also a nice extra — appallingly shot and edited, but nice nonetheless — in which old Ingmar talks a little about the project. He learned of its Cannes success while reading the newspaper while on the toilet, he says — a stirring image — “Swedish Film Has Cannes Success,” he reads, and thinks “That’s nice.” Then he learns it’s HIS film, which he didn’t even know was playing. So he borrows some money from Bibi Andersson, his girlfriend and star (top) and scoots down there. I like to picture him with toilet paper on his shoe, but you don’t have to.

It’s the beginning of Bergman the auteur who can make any film he wants (within budgetary limits, I guess). He says, a bit disingenuously I fear, that in a way he’s sad that this success meant he could no longer enjoy the guidance of smart producers. A likely story!

I do love Gunnar Fischer’s photography, in its way as nice as Nykvist’s. Though I wish they’d had a graded filter or something to hand so their day-for-night could be more solid. It’s not so much that the “nuit Americain” is unconvincing — it usually is — it’s that they don’t even seem to be attempting it. The Bergman-Ed Wood Jr. crossover is achieved, and in Bergman’s best early film…

Big Bergman Book

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , on February 23, 2019 by dcairns

Criterion mailed us a cop of Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, which is TWO books, really. One is all Bergman’s movies, the other is essays on those movies. Fiona and I did one on ALL THESE WOMEN and THE DEVIL’S EYE, representing the Swedish maestro’s less-celebrated “flop comedy” phase. And we found much of interest and much to honestly enjoy in these off-the-beaten-path curios. Truly!

Fiona got in on the deal by suggesting a title, We Prefer the Early, Gloomy Ones, which I thought was terrific. Then she told me I could only use it if I credited her, which seemed awkward so I suggested she co-write the thing, which she did. Then Criterion came up with their own excellent title, Then As Farce, which is an easier reference to get and avoids the whole controversial Woody Allen thing.

Anyhow, the upshot is we have a lot of Ingmar Bergman to watch now.

Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema – Set [Blu-ray]