JULY 14, 1918 - JULY 30, 2007

 Ingmar Bergman
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The first time I viewed an Ingmar Bergman film, now some quarter century ago in my college film studies class, I came to realize that in the right hands, cinema was as great an art form as any other. It can be ranked with the greatest novels, symphonies, paintings, or sculpture. For me, what Bergman does, as the greatest artists do, is reduce the human experience down to the very elements that are the most universal common denominators to all - that being - the meaning of life, love, and ultimately death.  Bergman's spare, haunting images, the black and white ones in particular, seem bleak to some, but to me pare away all exterior elements and leave the soul bare to examine these archetypal feelings.  Bergman was a perfectionist, sometimes taking days to just watch how light moved through a church as the sun passed over. This meticulous attention to detail is why Michelangelo languished for years over the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It is how a "visionary" is defined. These potent images, aided by Bergman's life-long collaborator and cinematographer, Sven Nykvist, take us out of our comfortable, safe lairs and force us to take a conscious, existential look at ourselves.  

Although I have seen most of Bergman's work I still go back to my favorite - Wild Strawberries. It is the film that opened my cinematic eye all those years ago. It is about a college professor traveling to receive an honorary degree. As he travels, his mind takes a journey of its own with dreams and reminiscences that all have the Bergman touches. They encompass everything from horror to humor (something in Bergman's repertoire that is often overlooked.) Another strength of Bergman's is the spiritual luminance of the human face. Sven Nykvist's lighting often sets the mood and tone, but Bergman's faces tell their own stories. The professor (played masterfully by Swedish director Victor Sjostrom) often relays more with just his Bergman-filtered visage than a Shakespearean soliloquy.  Woody Allen said it best when he said "Ingmar Bergman is probably the greatest film artist since the invention of the motion picture camera." - Todd





Ingmar Bergman lived out his final years in seclusion on the small island of Faro, north of the larger island of Gotland in Sweden.  It was a place where he was given his much-cherished solitude as the residents honored a "code of silence" regarding the director's whereabouts.  As per his wishes, Bergman's funeral was held at the Faro church and was very  low-key.  Only a few friends and family were invited.  He was buried in a simple, wooden coffin.










Ingmar Bergman's long-time friend and cinematographer, Sven Nykvist, died just one year earlier in 2006.  Cinema is often called the most collaborative of all the art forms and these two geniuses were most certainly one of the greatest examples of  film collaboration reaching its zenith.  Sven Nykvist's burial location is still unknown to most, however, for the Death 2ur's Find-a-Grave biography of Sven follow this link:




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