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Ingmar Bergman, R.I.P.

By admin Published: July 30, 2007

The acclaimed Swedish director has died. One report is here. ...

I saw my first Ingmar Bergman movie in college. I want to say it was "Persona," but I can't remember for sure. In any case, I didn't like it. Hey, I was young and schooled in commercial American movies, confronted by unhappy people and subtitles.

I came to appreciate Bergman's bleakness more as I grew older, but I still don't think I've seen more than a handful of his films, if that. But I understand his importance and reach as a filmmaker second-hand, through the people who took note of his influence.

Woody Allen, of course, has made repeated references to Bergman and more than once tried to make Bergmanesque films of his own. (Woody's "Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy," for example, was inspired by Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night." And Woody's grim "Interiors" is awash in Bergman-like depression.)

Then there are pop-culture acknowledgments like SCTV's hilarious "Scenes From an Idiot's Marriage" sketch, with Martin Short doing Jerry Lewis doing Bergman (viewable on YouTube) or the game-playing with Death in "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey." You don't have to have seen a Bergman movie to get what they're talking about, because Bergman's movies have so often been talked about.

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