Thursday, February 09, 2006

Most Excellent

Only recently I was bemoaning the fact that I've seen all but a couple of the Bergman films available on Netflix. Then I thought "That's ok. I think I know what he's about by now. Much as I love his stuff, I can do without."

Then I got Virgin Spring, and was completely floored. A brilliant, troubling, beautiful film with a punch equal to greats like Persona and Fanny and Alexander. Max von Sydow is John Brown terrible-swift-sword righteous in this one (see photo below). By the time he went all Odysseus-slays-the-suitors on his villainous manor house guests I was completely engaged in the magic of this re-created world; von Sydow's never been better, and when you think of his performances in Winter Light and The Seventh Seal and Shame? Tough to top! Technically and cinematically a masterpiece, filled with great natural beauty and shocking violence. The DVD transfer is a gem, and has an intro by Ang Lee; Ang claims Virgin Spring is the first "art" film he ever saw, and says he was so flabbergasted he still uses certain images and techiniques copped from it to this day.

What else you got in store for me Ingmar? Jesus.

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