I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Saturday, August 11, 2007

death of a master III

While I was away at Clarion, not reading the papers, Ingmar Bergman died.
I watched Fanny and Alexander when I was fifteen, which was the perfect age and the perfect film, for an introduction to Bergman. "Introduction" seems ridiculous, though, because that film is a world in itself. Many of the events in the film paralleled my own life. I still remember the room I watched it in and the way the light came through the windows. It took all afternoon; the video was on two tapes.
I minored in medieval studies in college and our professor screened Seventh Seal for us. The last scenes of that film go to a place so spiritual, eschatological, and so freakily transcendent, I don't know if anyone has equaled them. I had never seen anything like it and I still haven't.
Bergman's Magic Flute helped me finish my fiction thesis for college. I stayed up all night and I don't know how I could have done it without Bergman and Mozart.

For me the only artists who can get to that place of Nordic metaphysical starkness with Bergman are Andrew Wyeth, Isak Dinesin, and late Ibsen-- who influenced Bergman.
Maybe Caspar David Freidrich:




And of course Kierkagaard.

I feel like Bergman has left a giant hole in the world. He directed fifty films or so, and at least as many plays. He was so old, and so prolific, I thought he would never die. He was often parodied, and I guess a lot of people didn't get him. I'm struggling to sum up what I feel about him, but I keep thinking about the line Marlene Deitrich has in Touch of Evil: "What does it matter what you say about a man?"
Here's a quote from Bergman himself:
"I want very much to tell, to talk about, the wholeness inside every human being. It's a strange thing that every human being has a sort of dignity or wholeness in him, and out of that develops relationships to other human beings, tensions, misunderstandings, tenderness, coming in contact, touching and being touched, the cutting off of a contact and what happens then."
(from Ingmar Bergman Directs by John Simon).
I'm not sure that I will ever be able to commit in my writing as totally to a personal, idiosyncratic vision as Bergman did in film, and I feel sad and frustrated about that.

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