30 July 2007
Almost singlehandedly, he turned "movies" into "films," and a space for serious philosophical exploration - then moved on to direct operas and write fiction. He should also be honored for introducing the world to Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, and the Wizard of Light, cinematographer, Sven Nykvist (shown above with Bergman).
I remember staying up late to watch Synder's "Tomorrow Show" when I was growing up (I even saw his famous interview with Charles Manson, but was fortunately both too young and too tired to be as disturbed by it as I probably should have been). A strange man with weird hair, smoking constantly, with a wild laugh. But also someone very rare nowadays: An intelligent talk show host with a point of view that actually talked to his guests. It was like watching a conversation with the smart but crazy uncle everyone tells the kids to stay away from. Sometimes you didn't know what he would do, or what might happen on the show...no I take that back. You did know a couple of things: you wouldn't be bored, and you'd be both entertained and enlightened by Tom and his guests. How far both late night television and talk shows have fallen!
ADDENDA: News of the passing of Michaelangelo Antonioni hit the press on Tuesday, making Monday the 30th a particularly dark day for film fans. Again a very serious artist (more dour in interviews than Bergman, who could be surprisingly sunny considering his work), and one not afraid of occasionally maddening ambiguity (the [in]famous ending of “L’Eclisse” for example). Like Bergman, Antonioni used movies to ask questions, to make us think, however uncomfortable that might be, and not to have us just sit back and watch disengaged.
I want to be one of the artists of the cathedral that rises on the plain. I want to occupy myself by carving out of stone the head of a dragon, an angel or a demon, or perhaps a saint; it doesn’t matter; I will find the same joy in any case...I will never worry about the judgment of posterity or of my contemporaries; my name is carved nowhere and will disappear with me. But a little part of myself will survive in the anonymous and triumphant totality. Ingmar Bergman