Showing posts with label ingmar bergman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ingmar bergman. Show all posts

Monday, July 30, 2007

R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman died at the age of 89 today. Considering how popular his films were on the "art-house" circuit of the 1950s and 60s, and the iconic status of The Seventh Seal, Bergman's films are held in remarkably low regard among film academics today. During my eight years in graduate school for Cinema Studies, I never once saw a Bergman film screened in my department. If he was mentioned at all in my classes, it was either dismissively, or in order to praise the post-modern appropriation of The Seventh Seal in Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey (which was admittedly brilliant).

This was in part because the discipline was moving away from interpreting films as works of "art" and placing greater emphasis on moving images as cultural artifacts. Studying film as art had become something of an "old-fashioned" avocation within the academy by the 1990s. In my department it would have been much easier to get a dissertation thesis on Madonna's music videos approved than one on Bergman's trilogy of Through a Glass Darkly/Winter Light/The Silence. But other directors from the international art cinema movement reputations' faired better: I never heard anyone badmouth the work of Kurosawa, Ozu, or Kubrick. Put simply, Bergman just wasn't fashionable.

It is no doubt well past time for a critical reassessment.