Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A short while ago, a friend of mine suggested that we all have something like a quota of major contemporary world cinema directors that we can love, and once we’ve hit capacity, we’re not going to be able to get really excited anybody else. He was of course being facetious, but I take comfort in the […]

I have had cause to mention multiple times now that the tradition of regarding Fanny and Alexander as Ingmar Bergman’s final film is almost entirely a matter of sophistry, but the biggest sophist of all was Ingmar Bergman himself. When his 1984 telefilm After the Rehearsal was released theatrically basically everywhere in the world other […]

Karin’s Face is the very definition of a minor work, a 14-minute photo montage cut together by director Ingmar Bergman and editor Sylvia Ingemarsson by the end of 1983 that didn’t see the light of day until 1986, when it was broadcast on Swedish television. Even so, I have the impression that it is one […]

I haven’t done anything even slightly resembling the legwork it would take to prove or disprove this hunch, but I suspect that there might be more footage of Ingmar Bergman working on the set of his movies than any other filmmaker of the pre-home video generations. He has been the subject of a remarkable number […]

Ingmar Bergman, as we all know, stopped making movies with Fanny and Alexander. His next movie, two years later, was After the Rehearsal, and this was a point of much friction between him and his foreign distributor, Triumph Films. For Bergman, it was extremely important that nothing else he ever made after Fanny and Alexander be […]

You are Ingmar Bergman, one of the most famous motion picture directors in the history of the medium, and you have just completed Fanny and Alexander, a monumental declaration of your intention to be done with the art form, having said all you will ever say with it. And critics have agreed, anointing the film […]

Every film director in the history of the medium has made, or will have made, their final film. Most of them scrape out some dumb nonsense, the kind of half-assed project that a fading, aging artist can get financed. The lucky ones are able to do so at least semi-knowingly, ending their career on a […]

There was no need for a follow-up to Fårö Document, a decade later, just as there was no reason not to make a follow-up to Fårö Document. And so it is that Ingmar Bergman tentatively returned to his native Sweden, around three years after declaring that he would never under any imaginable circumstances do so, […]

One cannot grapple with 1978 Autumn Sonata, not in any of the ways it’s doing pretty much anything, without going straight to the most blazingly obvious. This is, before it is anything else, the single collaboration between the two most internationally famous representatives of the Swedish film industry,* the one where iconic AAA-level Hollywood movie […]

By almost any conceivable metric, the experimental short film The Dance of the Damned Women/The Condemned Women Dance is the most minor work of Ingmar Bergman’s mature career, and maybe even putting the qualifier “mature” in there is unnecessary. Possibly its single biggest point of significance is that it was the last project the director […]

As we all know, Ingmar Bergman directed two television miniseries that were also cut down to feature length for theatrical release: Scenes from a Marriage and Fanny and Alexander. What is surely less-known is that, in between the two of them, he made another one. This is Face to Face, which aired on Swedish television […]

Being the best film adaptation of an opera doesn’t take all that much. Stage-to-screen adaptations are, in general, tough to get more than passably well, and opera has the additional challenge of being exceptionally “stagey” and beholden to the peculiarities of live theater. Listening to a character spend five minutes singing to establish one plot […]