Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The last few days have been rather unusual, in that the deaths of Antonioni and Bergman brought forth a volley of e.mails and message board postings and on and on. It's actually been exhilarating. On Carrie Rickey's blog, i expressed my distress that Bergman and Antonioni are being lumped together because of the proximity of their deaths. Bergman (for me) was one of those filmmakers who always seemed so... 50s! Like Fellini and Kurosawa. And Antonioni was very much a filmmaker of the 60s, in the same way that Resnais was. It has nothing to do with age, it has to do with the period when the filmmaker gains prominence, and when the concerns of the filmmaker seem to match the period.

Bergman was pre-modernist, and was (intellectually) almost pre-existential. Antonioni was a modernist, and was post-existential, that is, he was someone for whom the issues of theism (as an example) were no longer issues. Bergman was still wrestling with the concerns of God, meaning and man. Antonioni was dealing with the problems of men and women in a post-industrial society.

It's been a fascinating adventure, because the passions aroused have been so heated. For example: on IndieWire, Michael Koresky wrote a very touching and emotional tribute to Bergman. Stephen Holden wrote two very fine appreciations of Bergman and Antonioni for the New York Times. Then, on the op-ed page of the New York Times, Jonathan Rosenbaum weighed in with a scathing denunication of Bergman, as if to put him in his place. But Jonathan's denunciation is just as much a matter of intellectual taste as he claims the reverence for Bergman is.

But it's all been exciting, and i do feel like i should write something about all this.

On other fronts: yesterday, Larry and i saw Jeffrey Blitz's "Rocket Science" and when it started and i heard the narrator, my immediate response was "Little Children, Jr.", another attempt at a mordant satire of suburban life.

One movie i watched over the last few days was "10:30 PM Summer", the Jules Dassin attempt at a Marguerite Duras adaptation. It was amazing, because it was well-done, yet utterly wrong-headed! I'm sorry i missed the screenings of "Le Camion", but i simply adore that film! It's one of my very favorite movies of all time!


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