Bergman. Bergman’s case is incredibly strong. I have him graded out with 6 masterpieces (in 4 separate decades) which is tied for the most of any director all-time, has north of 20 archiveable films and had a clearly, unique auteur voice (if you’re easily parodied like Bergman -think Wes Anderson SNL skit- or in this case Woody Allen doing his Bergman impression in many films) it’s a sign you have your own cinematic universe and style. He’s both an amazing visual director (The Silence is a superb film with very little dialogue, Cries and Whispers is breathtaking with its use of color) and one of the greatest (if not the greatest) screenwriters of all-time (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and Winter Light, are all 50 of the best screenplays of all-time).
Best film: Persona it’s stronger visually than The Seventh Seal. Bergman already had multiple masterpieces under his belt in 1966 when he made Persona and took wall-art and his photographic achievements to a new stratosphere. The film’s wild narrative can be seen influencing everyone from Bunuel (Obscure Object of Desire) to Lynch (Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive). Sven Nykvist’s work is probably the most beautifully photographed black and white film ever made along with Raging Bull.
Total archiveable films: 21
top 100 films: 3 (Persona, The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers)
top 500 films: 9 (Persona, The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries, Winter Light, The Virgin Spring The Silence, Scenes From a Marriage)
top 100 films of the decade: 10 (The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona, Winter Light, The Virgin Spring, The Silence, Hour of the Wolf, Cries and Whispers, Scenes From a Marriage, Fanny and Alexander)
most overrated: Hour of the Wolf is #442 on TSPDT and it doesn’t crack my top 500. For TSPDT it is Bergman’s 7th and I have it is his 10th best but we’re splitting hairs here which ultimately means I don’t think much here from Bergman is overrated if this is my choice for this slot.
most underrated: It’s still Winter Light. I’ve got it at #254 all-time and TSPDT has it at #518 so the consensus underrated this one by hundreds of spots. Maybe the critics’ praise for Paul Schrader’s First Reformed will help shed some light on this Bergman work. Striking to look at (check out this image below- unreal) and it has some of the most first-rate, and darkest/harshest, dialogue back and forths in screen history. The scene where Björnstrand eviscerates Ingrid Thulin is tough to watch.
gem I want to spotlight: Shame. It’s hard to keep track of all the brilliant collaborations (especially in the artistically fertile period of the 1960’s where Bergman has five top 100 films of the decade) with Bergman, his muse Liv Ullman, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand and dp Sven Nykvist but this one has the distinction of being Bergman’s only one set in the future and/or about the war. 33 minutes in there is the dazzling shot of Bergman’s trademark mise-en-scene blocking using faces as structures- von Sydow is lying flat on the ground and Ullmann’s face is cut in half just above. It’s gorgeous. There’s wonderful war-ravaged set pieces almost like a Rossellini post WW2- neorealism film. The silent, elliptically edited finale in the boat as they wade through dead bodies is brilliant as well. It’s an excellent addition to the Bergman canon.
stylistic innovations/traits: Framing, dialogue (the framing of dialogue and actors- specifically faces), religious filmmaker (certainly among the most thematically serious of auteurs). Like many of the greats who started out and are perhaps known for their work in black and white his work in color is astonishing (Fellini, Kurosawa are among the others who come to mind with Juliet of the Spirits and Ran). Specifically, both Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander are among the 25-30 most beautiful color films ever made. His villain in Fanny and Alexander is also one of the most readily apparent or first to come to mind when I think of the history of cinema. Theology and intellectualism—meditations on God, death and doubt.
- The Seventh Seal
- Cries and Whispers
- Fanny and Alexander
- Wild Strawberries
- Winter Light
- The Virgin Spring
- The Silence
- Scenes From a Marriage
- Hour of the Wolf
By year and grades
|1951- Summer Interlude||R|
|1953- Sawdust and Tinsel||HR|
|1953- Summer With Monika||R|
|1955- Smiles of a Summer Night||HR|
|1957- The Seventh Seal||MP|
|1957- Wild Strawberries||MP|
|1958- The Magician||R|
|1960 – The Virgin Spring||MS|
|1961- Through a Glass Darkly||R|
|1963- The Silence||MS|
|1963- Winter’s Light||MS/MP|
|1968- Hour of the Wolf||HR|
|1969- The Passion of Anna||R|
|1972- Cries and Whispers||MP|
|1973- Scenes From a Marriage||MS|
|1976- Face to Face||R|
|1978- Autumn Sonata||HR|
|1982- Fanny and Alexander||MP|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives
Hey looking to get into Bergman where should I Start?
@Randy- thanks for the comment. I’d start with The Seventh Seal. It is where I started. I think Persona is slightly superior but it’s more challenging. Maybe Winter Light after that and pair it with Paul Schrader’s (writer of Taxi Driver) First Reformed. Bergman’s film was a major influence on Schrader’s film.
I would like to know what they are “most beautiful color films ever made”.Just to see them and how I really love your site a top 10 would be great
@Aldo– I’m missing 5 or 10 that belong right along side these but here’s a few off the top of my head that would make my very short list:
• Raise the red lantern
• Juliet of the Spirits
• Pierrot le fou
• Fanny and Alexander
• Cries and whispers
• Red shoes
• Red desert
• The cook the thief his wife and her lover
Is the question most beautiful films that are colour or most beautiful use of colour in film? You appear to have answered the latter (not that there isn’t crossover).
@Matt Harris and @Aldo— sorry, good catch Matt. Yes, my short list here from memory is specifically about the best use of color.
just “most beautiful films that are in color” would include some of those but certainly would include other films like Days of Heaven, 2001, Lawrence of Arabia, Tree of Life, In the Mood For Love, Barry Lyndon, The Conformist,
Hey. I’ve read that Bergman made “Arthouse movies”. This term is extremely hard to define.
‘Accessible’ ‘regular movie-goer’ favorites like In the Mood For Love, , Cinema Paradiso, Ikiru, Battle of Algiers and even A Clockwork Orange and The godfather 1 and 2 etc are referred to as Art house sometimes.
More ‘challenging’ works like Mirror, Andrei Rublev, Barry Lyndon are also referred to as arthouse.
What does this broad term mean to you? Aren’t all movies art?
@Azman– there’s a lot here. First off, I wouldn’t describe any of those movies as “accessible regular movie-goer favorites”– In the Mood For Love? Clockwork Orange? Really? I don’t care really- genre definitions go on forever without accomplishing much but I would disagree this description.
i think arthouse just typically means not for the masses– this definition is around– “An art film is typically a serious, independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass” … many theaters that don’t run the big blockbuster movies are referred to as arthouse theaters as they play independent, foreign films, etc.
Maybe not In the mood for love, but Kubrick was always one of the best in the 20th century. People would look forward to going to his movies. In fact 2001 a space odyssey was the top grossing movie of 1968 (so a large mass were intrigued by it) and A clockwork Orange was top 5 for 1971.
Thinking about it, I wouldn’t really define any of those movies as regular movie goer movies either except for Cinema Paradiso and the Godfather 1 and 2. Maybe in the 50s and 60s and 70s, Ikiru, ACO and Algiers were movies for the masses, but not anymore.
Anyways, thanks for clearing things up for me. I understand it more now. I wasn’t aware that arthouse was a ‘genre’ that could be defined. I thought all movies are supposed to be art? Fury Road (for the masses) is also artistic just as another ‘arthouse’ sci fi masterpiece (2001 and ACO).
The word art house is extremely misleading and can scare away people from a certain few movies. A lot of art house movies are very accessible and really good movies that can be enjoyed by everyone (Cinema Paradiso, Battle of Algiers, Godfather etc).
I agree with you, genre definitions are extremely stupid.
2. The Seventh Seal
3. Scenes from a Marriage
4. Cries and Whispers
5. Wild Strawberries
6. The Silence
7. Fanny and Alexander
8. Winter Light
9. Autumn Sonata
10. Through a Glass Darkly
12. The Passion of Anna
13. The Virgin Spring
14. Summer Interlude
15. Hour of the Wolf.
Which version of Fanny and Alexander do you recommend? The 5 hour version or 3 hour version ?
@Pouria- I’ve never seen the 5 hour version. Sorry. I should do it next time.
Since this is Bergman’s theme, I wanted to buy the Criterion set of Bergman, but I see that you have 21 archivable movies and the set contains 39, I wonder if you have seen all of them, if so, are they archivable?
@Aldo- I haven’t seen 39. I’ve seen the 21 in the archives and maybe 5 or so that didn’t make it in the archives upon first viewing. But they have been scattered viewings (and rewatches) over the last 20 years. Only in the last 3 years or so have I make a real effort to go one by one (in order when I can) and watch all the available films for an auteur (did this with Ozu in 2018 among others, Scorsese in 2019, Kurosawa now)— it has been extremely rewarding. I have not done this with Bergman yet.
So if Bergman’s the finest screenwriter, then who else is in the top 10? Furthermore what, in your opinion, are the 5-10 best screenplays written thus far?
I’m not sure about this, but I think they answer this question here http://thecinemaarchives.com/2019/05/17/the-39th-best-director-of-all-time-billy-wilder/ i wouldn’t say Bergman is the best, i’d say it’s Tarantino or Wilder, but being a screenwriter isn’t an important part of directing
@finn i like how you say ‘thus far’. people dont always remember this artform was only created in 1878 so it is relevantly new. i mean obviously cinema is foremost a visual artform but there are some great writers. the coens are the greatest in my opinion, because they seem to have creative insight into human behaivor, particularly breakdowns people have. billy wilder is a great writer, and it is cliche to say him but he truly is. francis coppola and paul schrader of course. some great scripts would be bringing up baby, seventh seal, godfather, apartment, carrie. i don’t want to get into a whole row but i don’t believe tarantino to be much of a writer like he is hyped up to be, but inglorious basterds is a good script. blue velvet is one of my favorite movies and it has underrated script. another would be citizen kane, and badlands. breathless is great. final script for you to consider is planet of the apes 1968. it was written by the guy who did the twilight zone show, rod sterling. it is just a brilliant satire. it is not as great as a similar film that came out the same year, 2001 (what is) but it has a better script i believe. 2001 is basically a silent film, and the dialogue is like what whistles, noises and songs were to chaplins silent films, along with the most awe inspiring music.
Is there a page for Persona?
There is not, and you can find this easily by searching Persona in the search bar.
@Graham – okay, thanks, yeah I know sometimes with the year pages they disappear when they are being updated and are then re-posted later so I wasn’t sure.
@James Trapp- yep, I’m not sure when I’m going to take the plunge and do a Bergman study but I owe most of his films a revisit and a page here on the site. Obviously with a filmography as large as Bergman’s– it is a daunting task.
@Drake – yeah, for sure, according to Wiki he directed 45 films! That’s almost Hitchcock territory, 53 for him I think.
I am watching Persona for a movie club I do with my family so just checking out some articles for it. I’ve seen it a couple times already, it is an amazing film.
I must say that i am somewhat disappointed, I found out that The Silence and Winter light are a trilogy
with Through a Glass Darkly, but you got through a glass darkly as a simple “R”, I haven’t actually seen it, but are you sure it’s a simple “R” isn’t it higher? i would like to see it, but i have many movies to see before going through an “R”
I saw Through a Glass Darkly (when I was trying to see all of the international Oscar winners), and I agree with Drake, it’s not a masterpiece, well photographically it is, as Ebert said if you pause anywhere in this film you’ll have a very good photograph, for me each picture of Through is a photograph by Henri Cartier Bresson (maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it’s like that). But it’s a very heavy film, about schizophrenia, it has a more realistic style in relation to other Bergmans, but it’s a good movie, it reminded me a bit of Autumn Sonata, both are about family, with people full of family hurts
Hi @Lucas Henriques. Which Bergman movie do you compare it to? I’d say most of his movies are thematically heavy? what rating would you give it?
I am not an expert on Bergman, I would compare this film a little bit with Ordet, Autumn Sonata and Fists in the Pocket, I know that of those I mentioned only Autumn Sonata is from Bergman, as I said I am not an expert on Bergman at all. I would grade it 8/10. I would recommend you to see another Bergman: Virgin Spring (I thought it was much better), but you’ve probably seen it.
8/10 not bad, I’ve already seen the movie you mention, i think i’ll watch the movie, thanks
I think the simple “R” for Through A Glass Darkly is fair. It’s a film with great qualities, especially the performance of Harriet Andersson as the schizophrenic girl, but it’s weaker than either Winter Light or The Silence.
Bergman believed so too. He was trying for something like the film equivalent of a string quartet, and he didn’t feel he achieved the perfect ensemble he hoped for. In “Images,” He wrote that Björnstrand’s ideas and his own ideas about Björnstrand’s character were not in harmony, to the film’s detriment; that Von Sydow was very good with what he was given, but he wasn’t given enough; and that the young actor playing the son was simply not up to the complexity of the character. He also found his own writing at times false and pat, for example, in the final scene between the father and son. I don’t always agree with Bergman’s assessments of his own films, but I think he’s correct on this one.
But it does have one of the greatest portrayals of mental illness ever committed to film (from the same actress who, a decade later in Cries and Whispers, would give us one of the greatest portrayals of physical illness).
I think Bergman is generally underrated for his editing. Would you agree? In Persona’s (one of the movies for which I am most eager to see you write a page) formally radical “cinema” montages at the beginning and later on, there is brilliant quick-cut work. Other sections of the film use dissolves to a near-Coppola level of brilliance. Cries and Whispers opens on a rhythmic quick-cut montage as well, and the red fade scene transitions are a wonderful choice.
@Graham- great point and two brilliant examples- Bergman is probably understandably overlooked because he is so brilliant in other aspects as well (even Cries and Whispers you would typically think about décor and color first)
So I watched Stalker last night… amazing. And tonight I watched Persona… amazing. I’m just about to watch The Seventh Seal for the second time in just a couple of weeks because I don’t think I quite gave it the right amount of attention given that I had just invested myself into Breaking the Waves, The Searchers and then Rashomon before starting Bergman’s film, thus I was starting to drift a little bit. Probably wouldn’t be doing this so quickly if it was a film of the length and pacing of say, Stalker. Even then, I regardless thought extremely highly of The Seventh Seal and after two of his films I’ve come to see Bergman as a burgeoning favorite director. I know what you’re probably thinking, good idea to do exactly the same thing with watching a film right after another but I think I am more prepared this time around.
I’m with you on Ullmann being superior to Andersson in Persona as well. Andersson is very strong at displaying emotion―Lynch copies her quite well in Mulholland Drive and Watts even improves on her (quite significantly even considering how good Andersson is)―in the film and I do think she often steals scenes from Ullmann but the latter plays the quiet type unbelievably well. Reminded me of Ryan Gosling in Drive (and he goes even deeper in Only God Forgives) though these are of course entirely different films.
Deviating slightly but about Only God Forgives, upon viewing it in April I was not one of those who hated it and thought it was the worst film ever (probably majority of those who watched it) but I didn’t really like it per se. It was in the middle of my transitional period between watching movies passively and watching films actively which contributed to my attitude towards it at the time Furthermore, I went into it thinking Drive 2 (which I found to some extent later that day in The Place Beyond the Pines as part of a Gosling tetrafecta with those two, The Nice Guys and Blue Valentine) and…….. it was not that. It was very different from any movie I had ever seen up to that point with its almost complete silence and emphasis on visuals over almost anything else. Now, it has come on Amazon Prime for free so I plan to watch it again now more appreciative of the finer aspects of film, having a few months later (July I believe) viewed The Neon Demon and thought it absolutely brilliant; You have it at an R/HR and I may well go as far as MS. I will also have zero illusions of it being a second Drive which will assist in any revisit.
@Zane- thanks for sharing– interesting on Neon Demon– I saw it in theater but yet to see it again since. I think Cinephile thought it was MS-worthy as well (if I’m remembering correctly) and he’s pointed me to a few films that I’ve changed my grade on (notably Son of Saul)
Great things, happy to hear that.
Although i think you should have started with Ivan’s childhood.
I would like to comment here, but i have not seen it for a long time, apart i’m waiting for the Bergman exhibition in my cinema, hoping to see his movies in the theater.
@Zane – I hope you don’t mind my hopping in the Persona discussion. Of all the Gosling films above, I’ve only watched Drive and A Place Beyond the Pines once a piece, and I’m looking into studying them again so I’m a little reluctant to talk about them yet. Though I generally think very highly of Drive and I thought that Pines was not bad.
So, I think there are a lot of intriguing things you can say about Persona other than the performances, but that’s a great topic on its own right. They’re so closely intertwined. Simply because they work like a canvas for one another. There is no way the artistic heights of Persona are achieved without the astonishing silent work by Ullmann and the film is not effective enough and doesn’t resonate well with viewer without Andersson being our vehicle through nearly everything that happens, particularly in the first part. Ullmann -as she would do consistently and brilliantly throughout her career- says everything with her eyes. She communicates every feeling she wants us to see, and then holds back barely enough, so she can convey the mystery. She’s nearly like a ghost, she feels very omnipresent and you can sense her being there throughout the film. Her eyes portray understanding and compassion, only to reveal it’s a disguise, then they become seductive in the dream sequence (or was it a dream?), they convey horror at times, cruelty and coldness during the motherhood monologue. It’s a quietly incredible performance. Andersson goes a completely different way. She’s our vehicle, our eyes and ears through Bergman’s world. She emotes openly and freely, becomes vulnerable. This the character we relate to for the most part, which I think makes her the backbone of Persona. She is a match for Ullmann in the famous mirror scene, how she relinquishes to her influence, and in the repeated monologue as well. She becomes ice cold and harsh in a way that really gives a different layer to her character (her starting character anyway – my theory is generally that these two women portray the same person in reality, but that’s a different story). The scene however that’s truly all hers is the monologue where she describes her encounter with the two youngsters. I’ve talked before about how I admire this scene, and I believe it’s one of the most sensual moments in cinema and it is entirely reliant on her ability to convey it. She is sensational there. Both of the performances are essential. If I have to pick one, I’m going ever so slightly with Andersson, but I think there are points to be made about both actresses’ work, and the degree to which Ullmann internalises everything is hard to deny. Oh well. After talking so much about this, I feel like watching Persona again.
@Georg Of course you’re welcome! This is a public site. And I loved everything you said and agree with it wholeheartedly, amazing breakdown of the two performances.
@Zane – haha, thank you. Good luck on your film quest by the way
Here is a very nice video psychologically analyzing the style of Persona:
During my absence from the site over the last few days, I took it upon myself to engage in a little project of mine:
Morning of 4/30/21:
1. Persona – MP
2. Wild Strawberries – MP
3. Cries and Whispers – MP
4. The Seventh Seal – MP
Evening of 5/3/21:
1. Fanny and Alexander – MP
2. Persona – MP
3. Cries and Whispers – MP
4. Wild Strawberries – MP
5. The Seventh Seal – MP
6. Autumn Sonata – MP
7. Hour of the Wolf – MP
8. Winter Light – MP
9. The Virgin Spring – MS/MP
10. Sawdust and Tinsel – MS
11. Scenes from a Marriage – MS
12. Smiles of a Summer Night – HR/MS
13. Shame – HR (leaning HR/MS)
Highest Positions Attained:
Persona (#1; initial position, held throughout most of study, regained post-rewatch of Persona, lost post-watch of Fanny and Alexander)
Cries and Whispers (#1, strongly raised post-rewatch of Cries and Whispers)
Wild Strawberries (#2, initial position and pre-rewatch of Cries and Whispers)
The Seventh Seal (#3, raised post-rewatch of The Seventh Seal)
Lowest Positions Held:
Persona (#2, demoted post-rewatch of Cries and Whispers and again post-watch of Fanny and Alexander)
Cries and Whispers (#4, demoted post-rewatch of The Seventh Seal)
Wild Strawberries (#4, demoted post-watch of Fanny and Alexander)
The Seventh Seal (#5, demoted post-watch of Fanny and Alexander)
Best Film: Fanny and Alexander. Wow. What a giant achievement for Bergman, Sven Nykvist, and Jan Malmsjö this film is. I made the decision early on that this would be the final film that I watched for this study, the keystone of all Bergman’s works, and I was very happy with the results here. It felt at times like Bergman watched Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard and thought “why the hell didn’t I make that movie?” From the first minutes you know you’re watching a MP. Bergman swings out the camera (and I mean swings it) to show brilliant arrangements of mise-en-scene repeated thrice within the same shot, and does this to great effect more than once in the film at that. It’s an absolutely brilliant flourish of style that knocks me down every time. It’s very noteworthy that Bergman’s cast here is among his few not to be made up of established stars and Bergman troupe regulars; for the end result still to be a film as good as Fanny and Alexander is a testament to the work of those involved. I have to say I think it’s Bergman’s most beautiful film in my opinion, which is in large part due to the production design as this film is definitely a landmark for that. For a while I didn’t think Bergman had that enormous top 25 MP that would give him the potential of being the GOAT, but I think this film is that enormous masterpiece. It’s a massive achievement for Bergman. Has to be some of the most loaded mise-en-scene I’ve ever seen, and if you haven’t seen this one yet (I’m pretty sure Drake mentioned James hasn’t, and Declan hasn’t logged it on Letterboxd), you need to watch this film right now!
Most Underrated: Autumn Sonata. I don’t actually want to pick this one very much for this category. It’s very much “come around” owing to its popularity on Letterboxd where a lot of people have declared this their favorite Bergman film, and where it is the 62nd-highest ranked film on the site. However, its TSPDT placement of #1604 all-time is difficult to ignore. Perhaps Bill mistakenly put in an extra 0 in the middle whilst making the page? Haha. 1604 is absolute garbage. Hahahahahahahaha. What a terrible ranking. I’d say you’re underrating it as well but I remember you saying you rewatched it and that you’d been really underrating it yourself up to that point. I really liked this one. Typically great frame-within-a-frame shots as expected from the mighty Sven Nykvist and some of the finest performances of both Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann. I think there was some semi-autobiographical material here with Ingrid Bergman as well what with her character being a huge star abroad and now returning to her native Sweden, not to mention her association with an Italian “Leonardo.” I loved the editing during the flashback scenes as it dissolved between Ullmann and her past memories and especially the distance of the camera in this memories; obviously done so as not to highlight Ingrid Bergman’s age but I think there’s a stylistic mode to it as well; it shows Ullmann’s efforts to distance herself as much from her devastating past as possible and her own feelings of distance from her mother. I must also commend the dialogue and direction in the scenes where Ullmann was completely breaking down Ingrid Bergman’s thoughts of their shared past; absolutely devastating material here that was not always easy to watch. You really wanted to get away from it as fast as possible just like Ingrid did. I particularly liked the part where they were playing piano; Ingrid Bergman doesn’t even look at Ullmann, much less acknowledge her presence or her feelings about it at all. And that conclusion, the lack of resolution between mother and daughter, as her husband (who is quite good here I must say) reads out that letter? Clearly among Ingmar Bergman’s best in my opinion. I’ve already mentioned Sven Nykvist’s cinematography but I feel the need to mention it again because it is truly remarkable. Where was this in Scenes from a Marriage?
Most Overrated: Scenes from a Marriage. Also a bit reluctant but going off the very high Letterboxd score, which is almost certainly because of the “social importance,” of the film, which is completely irrelevant to its actual value as a work of art, I feel I have to pick it. I like this film and it was a strong debate within me to put it behind Sawdust and Tinsel and outside of the top 10. In terms of screenwriting, and in that regard mostly dialogue, it may be Bergman’s finest work. That scene with Bibi Andersson and Jan Malmsjö at the beginning going at it with eachother? Oh my god! Scenes from a perfect marriage of dialogue and delivery right there! I genuinely didn’t recognize Andersson until finding out it was her after the film was over since the role wasn’t like anything I’d seen her in before. And as it goes on and Ullmann and Josephson (both fantastic here) can’t tell whether they really want to leave, and the long takes become longer and longer with time, I thought it was really great. But there’s one problem with the film, and it’s the visual presentation. Visually this film is so bland. There are a few great shots now and then and it’s not like I hated the film visually, but I’m just saying, if Bergman shot this like Cries and Whispers or Autumn Sonata, there’s a masterpiece here, and probably a big one at that. But he didn’t, and for that I have to leave it off my top 10, since I think the visual brilliance in Sawdust and Tinsel is worth more than the stunning dialogue here. And I must say, as good as Josephson is here – I actually think he’s probably even better than Ullmann – I’ll take his work with Tarkovsky over his work with Bergman, though I mean that strictly in reference to his individual performances from Bergman and not the films themselves, since he had minor roles in a lot of Bergman films and a memorable appearance in Cries and Whispers before doing Scenes from a Marriage, and I can’t say I want to lose all those movies. Again, I’ll repeat it here at the bottom, this film is overrated because of the “social relevance,” but that isn’t what makes it a MP. I have it as a Must-See, and I could go up to MS/MP without much difficulty on a second viewing but now I’m pretty comfortable with Drake’s ranking.
Gem I want to Spotlight: Sawdust and Tinsel. Oh, Sawdust and Tinsel, how unrecognized you are. I’ve never heard a single person talk about this film online or otherwise in my entire life. It’s one of the lesser-viewed Bergman films on Letterboxd, and it almost got left off my top 10, and I suspect it will be gone from there fully once I am finally able to find 1963’s The Silence (that film is damn near impossible to find online). Nonetheless I think it’s a great film and that Bergman clearly shows massive promise in this early work of his from all the way back in 1953. I mean this film has so much greatness in it. Wellesian angles galore, countless mirror shots, great costumes and makeup, and bookends at the beginning and end with the same dissolve edit. Unsurprisingly given they’re both circus movies I think it would make for a great watch alongside La Strada from Fellini a year later, though I think that film is superior. This one was surprisingly great, the first film that I watched for this study and I knew when it was over that it was going to be a great study, and I’m giving it a MS. Really strong film visually.
This has been quite the ride. 3 films on Friday, 3 on Saturday, 4 on Sunday, and 3 on Monday. I think it’s changed the way in which I view Bergman, I think I understand him more and the 8 MPs certainly help haha. I don’t know who I’ll go for next, or if I’ll just return to my more traditional method of viewing films, but going this deep into a singular director has helped me understand the evolution a director undergoes over the course of his career (I watched this films mostly chronologically) quite a lot and that element was missing in my previous method of watching films where I mostly viewed them out of order. My understanding of some of Bergman’s films that I had already seen was changed as well: I thought Wild Strawberries blew The Seventh Seal out of the water the first time I watched it but now I’ve come to realize they’re much closer than I thought. On a similar note, I dropped Cries and Whispers down to #4 at one time and then it conquered a path to #1 after I rewatched it (I actually no longer disagree with you placing it as the #2 film of 1972 ahead of Aguirre), before falling to #3 by the end of the study. The next director I’ll study is probably going to be someone like Godard but it could be WKW or even a wildcard like Dreyer, Altman, Ozu, Bunuel or Kalatozov. What I do know is that I’ll go about it much slower since it was very difficult going through so many films in such a short time (13 films in 4 days), and I’ll probably do more like 1 a day, or 2 if I’m feeling adventurous, but I could indeed see myself undergoing a director’s study again.
@Zane- this is fantastic! What an intense few days! Please make sure you’re keeping this somewhere– I’d hate to lose this when I update the Bergman page or if something happens to my site. Thrilled to hear we’re on the same page with so many of these.
I am, I wrote it initially on Google Docs before posting it here. I do hope you come around on Hour of the Wolf on a rewatch; depending on where you put Autumn Sonata coming up that should be the only Bergman we disagree on.
@Zane – this breakdown is amazing. I salute any soul brave enough to just watch so much Bergman over the course of, what, three days? Life changing, haha. I really need to rewatch the Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries now that I read this because it’s been so long. And I’ve never watched many of his early works, so I appreciate the reminder that Sawdust and Tinsel exists. I actually think that Ralph Fiennes has mentioned it a couple of times as one of Bergman’s most wonderful films. Your ranking, just like Drake’s, seems very objective and spot on. I’d still take Persona over Fanny and Alexander, but the latter is definitely much more approachable and a strong contender for most people’s favourite Bergman picture. Then again, I’m never faithful to my rankings and evaluations. Like, ask me next week, while I’m obsessing over, let’s say, Hannah and her Sisters, and the answer would be Fanny and Alexander. Great work!
Last night, I watched Autumn Sonata, completing a study of Ingmar Bergman’s 1970’s run: the Touch, Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, Face to Face, Autumn Sonata (I did forego the Serpent’s Egg). The Touch is not known as a great Bergman film, and it is not, even though Bibi Andersson is noteworthy in it. Face to Face I was also left relatively unimpressed by, though Liv Ullmann is remarkable in it. So those two are not of interest in the point I’m trying to make. That said, reviewing Cries and Whispers (a masterpiece), Scenes from a Marriage and Autumn Sonata (I think they do reach a highly recommended, if not Must See status), I noticed a pattern, that seemed to be largely absent in his 1960’s run and serves as a precursor to Fanny and Alexander: hope. When I think of Bergman’s 60’s, we’re talking the faith trilogy (which generates existential angst other than resolving it – which was precisely its point), Persona, which is on a league of its own, Shame and the Passion of Anna, which, particularly Anna, are both quite hopeless and stir up terribly uncomfortable emotions, calling for the audience to face ugly inner truths, atrocious even. They’re definitely a challenge, and that is one aspect of Bergman that’s easy to be utterly intrigued by and infatuated with. Those three 70’s highlights, however, take something of a turn. You get all the angst, fear, loathing, existential crises, drama, meditations on death and emotional trauma, you are affected by all those classic bergmanesque elements, and then, right at the end, there suddenly is light at the end of the tunnel. Cries and Whispers (apart from the sumptuous, expressionistic use of colour and dedication to its aesthetic that skyrockets it to top 150 status), lets us see the turbulent, dysfunctional (a word suited to actually everything Bergman shows), devastating reality of a traumatised, stern woman, a woman of absolutely zero substance or depth, and a woman dying, all tied together by their familial bond and a sense of claustrophobic co-dependence and shared resentment. And after witnessing the psychological acrobatics and horrifying, hatred saturated confrontations between a typically unafraid to go dark Ingrid Thulin and an exquisite, atypically cast Liv Ullmann, as well as Bergman’s visceral vision of a kind of afterlife, the ending nearly shocks anyone who is relatively well versed in Bergman. The thoughts of Harriet Andersson as she mentions how much she loves and cares for her family, how happy she was that day they went for a walk, how those moments were the best life had to offer. It is a heart warming note, a reminder that despite each and every person’s inner abyss, we all long for one thing: love. Scenes from a Marriage, after a genuinely uncomfortable anatomy of the uneven relationship between two people who love one another, or at least their perception of one another, after its pondering on whether or not there is such a thing as love and the nature of our desires, needs, where they stem from and how we project them on our partners, it presents us with an unusually simple statement: we think too much, hurt too much and are ultimately too small in the vast ever expanding place that our universe is. We’re deeply flawed but we try our best to love ourselves and those around us, hopeless as it may appear at times. And that’s okay. That’s right, Bergman said “that’s okay” (he already did a version of that in Winter Light and the acceptance of God’s silence, but here it is more overtly humanistic than ever). Worth noting, Scenes form a Marriage is easily the most feminist of Bergman’s takes, so there’s that as well. Autumn Sonata instantly makes even the most home loving viewers question whether or not they really want to have children, with the unforgiving evisceration of Ingrid Bergman’s ever absent, ever selfish, ever dishonest and ever uncaring mother, in what is, to me, the screen icon’s best performance. Bringing everyone before their responsibilities and with the emotional weight that only Bergman (Ingmar, but perhaps Ingrid as well) can assign to a film as simple as this one, Autumn Sonata, in its mere last two minutes, calls for forgiveness. Life is fleeting and reconciliation is possible, if not necessary, for us to achieve inner piece. What I, as a viewer, see here is a director who, being as autobiographical as ever, finds, presumably within himself, but visibly through the intellectual and philosophical meditations that are his films, a sense of meaning and purpose. Bergman acquires in these efforts, or so it seems, an understanding, if not of the human condition (and he was one of the few, if not the only one, who could describe it so articulately), definitely of humans. Before the surprising warmth of Fanny and Alexander (with the undercurrents of angst still present – it wouldn’t be Bergman if they weren’t), we had the hopeful conclusions to Cries and Whispers, Scenes and Autumn Sonata. I thought it would be interesting to point out.
@Georg- This is excellent! I had not noticed those trends- fascinating.
I just saw the full version of face to face. Was my second viewing. It’s a strong film for Bergman. I think you should give it another try. It’s closer to a HR/MS fir me.
It had some real great interior photography and Ullmann is superb.
I way her inner psyche is laid out before us is admirable, it’s solid direction.
Well it’s not dead for you, is it? Do You still see potential in it ? Can it get better with further viewings.
@M*A*S*H- Thanks for sharing this. I have only seen it once, and it was maybe 12 years ago. That’s never enough for a filmmaker like Bergman. I hope you’re right and I missed on this one.
Hey @Drake having seen almost all of his films I’m compiling top 15 best performances in a bergman movie.
It’s very exciting as there are just so many. I’m researching as much as I can so that my list comes as definitive as it can be. For #1 it came down to these 4 :
Liv in persona, Max in seventh seal, Victor in wild strawberries and jan in fanny & Alexander. What would be your pick for single best performance in his film?
@MASH- Great question- I’m not sure what the right answer is- you have some fine candidates here- I’d have Gunnar Björnstrand from Winter Light in the very small group at the top though
My list of top 15 performances from Bergman correct me if I’m wrong @Drake and i’d love to hear @Georg ‘s thoughts.
1. Liv ullmann in Persona
2. Max von Sydow in the seventh seal
3. Victor Sjöström in wild strawberries
4. Jan Malmsjö in Fanny & Alexander
5. Gunnar Björnstrand in winter light
6. Liv ullmann in scenes from a marriage
7. Bibi Andersson in Persona
8. Liv ullmann in Autumn sonata
9. Ingrid thulin in winter light
10. Ingrid bergman in Autumn sonata
11. Ingrid thulin in the silence
12. Erland josephson in scenes from a marriage
13. Harriet Andersson in through a glass darkly
14. Liv ullmann in cries & whispers
15. Bibi Andersson in the seventh seal and wild strawberries
@M*A*S*H– I think this is a superb list. I’ll have to refrain to when I can do a proper Bergman study. I’ve been thinking about doing it this fall/winter.
No Max von Sydow in Hour of the Wolf?
Hey @Drake have you seen The best intensions by Bille August (director of pelle the conquer). It’s written by Bergman based on troubled relationship of his parents. If not , you should definitely check it out. It’s a 5.5 hour epic (at that time costliest Swedish film) and believe me, it’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. It’s a gorgeous gorgeous film (even more than Pelle). I’ll have it as MS.
It won Palm d’or at Cannes and it’s leading actress Pernilla August won best actress.
@M*A*S*H Thank you for the recommendation- I have not seen it yet.
@M*A*S*H – excuse me, I just came across this, didn’t see it when you posted it. This seems like a very well put together list. It’s such an undertaking. Mine would probably be along the lines of:
1. Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson in Persona (let’s just have them share the slot for now – I don’t think it gets any better than them)
2. Max Von Sydow in the Seventh Seal
3. Probably, Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries (there is some distance between me and that film at this point)
4. Liv Ullmann in Scenes from a Marriage
5. Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata
6. Liv Ullmann in Autumn Sonata
7. Jan Malsjö in Fanny and Alexander
8. Max Von Sydow in the Passion of Anna (I haven’t seen the Hour of the Woolf)
9. Liv Ullmann in the Passion of Anna and Shame (I’m breaking the rules and giving a double mention here – the Passion of Anna isn’t as strong a film regardless)
10. Gunnar Björnstrand in Winter Light
11. Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin in Cries and Whispers… I prefer Ullmann there, but Thulin is close so I’ll split it. Thulin went berserk in that film.
12. Ingrid Thulin and Gunnel Lindblom in the Silence (Thulin gets the bulk of the praise, but Lindblom is excellent nevertheless)
13. Harriet Andersson in Through a Glass Darkly (I started out thinking she’d be higher up, but ultimately I think the film does her an injustice)
And this is as far as I’ll get. All that being said, I’m not 100% certain that this is my preferred ranking and I haven’t watched some early Bergman films. Anything before the Seventh Seal is still on the list, and I haven’t caught the Virgin Spring yet.
Unpopular opinion, ready to be crucified: Erland Josephson is slightly better than Liv Ullmann in Scenes (this will at least stand until I watch it again).
@Zane- I personally don’t agree but it Makes sense. That’s the beauty of performances in a Bergman film. First, you’ll never find a great solo performance, you’ll always find a bunch of gr8 actors doing gr8 work in a movie. And the quality is so consistent that anyone can choose anything & be absolutely right.
@Zane – Josephson is the unsung hero of the Bergman family of actors. He is so underrated. He is consistent and effective. If anything, it is my impression he always got to play the more level headed Bergman characters. Scenes from a Marriage is probably his best Bergman performance. I can see your giving him the edge over Ullmann, but for me the tie breaker is that final scene. When she says that she’s afraid she never loved anyone and that she’ll never love anyone. Despair, existential angst and anguish on a completely different level, and it’s all in her eyes. He then consoles her, and there is this aftertaste in the end about the subjectivity and quiet selfishness of love, even through it may still be love, but we, as an audience, know that what she said is true for her character ( or at least that’s how I interpreted it – a woman who knew how to care, but wasn’t sure whether she ever truly loved). I think there is a certain power and resonance about Ullmann’s turn in Scenes that is incomparable on several fronts. That said, the fact that in my perception of the film, Josephson is often eclipsed by her, is not to the detriment of his own accomplishment – he is excellent in it, and I see your point, though I tend to disagree with it.
@Georg- you have a natural skill of giving words to our thoughts. Loved what you said about that performance.
I don’t know you’ll be comfortable sharing the information here or not , but are you on Twitter or Instagram. I’d love to talk movies with you.
@M*A*S*H – first and foremost,
Thank you for your kind words. I’m on Twitter, and I actually created the account very recently (since about two weeks). I am quite inactive on it, but seeing your comment here prompted me to look up whether Drake has set up a Twitter account for the Cinema Archives and I pleasantly discovered there is indeed one. I haven’t talked much of cinema on Twitter yet and I’m honestly still wondering how that might go, but for now I’m just taking a look at whatever Criterion or Letterboxd or anything put up there. I don’t mind sharing the Twitter account here. It’s Georg on the Couch (@GeorgCouch)
@ Georg- sorry to bother you but Im not able to find the account you mentioned, I found @TheGeoOnCraft. Is that you? I’ve followed that acount.
@Georg- no worries, found you, followed you!!!!
Really great list @Georg. I think Ingrid thulin in winter light is an omission, she’s more than extraordinary in it. I love that you tie many performances.
I had 4 performances tied for #1. But liv in persona had 3 solid praises so I chose her,
1. Her performance is #49 GOAT in premiere magazine’s Top 100 of all time (only bergman performance on list)
2. She’s #28 in Entertainment weekly’s 54 performances that deserved Oscar (ditto).
3. On Hollywood actress’ roundtable 2016 they were asked to pick a performance to be put in a time capsule and Anette Benning chose ullmann in persona and sang her praises.
@M*A*S*H – Ingrid Thulin is incredible in Winter Light. I didn’t mention her, because I thought Björnstrand was slightly better (it’s his character that undergoes the crisis of faith) and since I’d say Thulin is a little better in the Silence. She says more in Winter Light and really breaks herself into pieces for that scene, but in the Silence she wowed me. Her dedication and bravery in that film really shook me up. I agree that her performance in Winter Light would deserve a place in the list, anyhow. And I agree that Liv Ullmann in Persona is probably the finest acting achievement in the Bergman oeuvre. I love Von Sydow and Bibi Andersson, and I can see counter-arguments (I myself am not certain whether it’s Andersson or Ullmann for Persona), but I definitely see Ullmann as hovering above the rest of these extraordinary performances. Bergman was such a genius with actors and he had so much talent to work with, all these lists are from highly to utterly subjective, difficult to make and be happy with, and all the more interesting for it.
@Georg- I Agree with every word you said.
I feel wierd commenting only about acting in a bergman film. But in my defense, acting is so integral in his movies unlike say Kubrick or malick and also I’m not fully aware with technical terminology to confidently talk about many technical aspects😅😅. But anyways 2 thoughts:
1. Ingrid thulin in the magician posing as Mr. Aman blew my hair back.
2. Liv ullmann in hour of the wolf.. WALKS AWAY WITH THE MOVIE. Her descent into madness is unexpected and jaw dropping. I forgot that the film was mostly her POV. I’ll be making a list of top 10 monologues in bergman films and her monologue about failure of her love is destined to be there.
…You think Liv Ullmann is better than von Sydow in Vargstimmen? You talk about her descent into madness… it’s not her, he’s the guy who goes insane… what are you even on about actually???
@Zane- She loves her husband and tries to think like him, feel like him and starts to share his craziness. She thinks that it’s the failure of her love as had she loved him a lesser , she actually would have been able to help him.
Max was every bit her equal, extremely excellent.
I’m don’t care about awards but Ullmann actually won Best actress at national board of review and national society of film critics for this.
@Zane- Few points and remember that you are talking to one of the biggest von sydow admirer alive.
1. The film doesn’t do justice to him at all, he doesn’t gets many shining as during most of his screen time he’s facing away from the camera or it’s a distant shot.
2. He gets 2 major moments; a.)Encounter with the boy while fishing, b.) Encounter with Veronika vogler.
Liv gets many more shining moments. Beginning monologue, ending monologue, paranoid monologue in the woods, her encounter with spirits at the end, the way her demeanor changes when she has read sydow’s dairy, the way she’s drawn into his imagination (I believe that the dinner was his imagination).
Finally my Bergman study is finished. @Drake now I’ll be eagerly waiting 4 urs. I’ll update my performances list as well. Here is my ranking graded in @Drake’s language:
1. Persona – MP
2. Cries & whispers – MP
3. Wild strawberries – MP
4. The seventh seal – MP
5. Fanny & Alexander – MP
6. Winter light – MP
7. The silence – MP
8. Scene from a marriage – MS/MP
9. Shame – MS
10. Autumn sonata – MS
11. Hour of the wolf – HR/MS
12. Through a glass darky – HR
13. The virgin spring – HR
14. Sawdust & tinsel – HR
15. Face to Face – HR
16. The passion of anna – HR
17. Smiles of a Summer Night
20.Summer with monica
MOST OVERRATED: the virgin spring
MOST UNDERRATED: Shame
GEM I WANNA SPOTLIGHT: The silence
@MASH- standing ovation! Great work here- what a study!
I think this is proof that Bergman did personally invent his famous style of blocking yet I’ll have to look for it myself when I get back into his early 50s films, though I’ve already seen his wondrous Sawdust and Tinsel from this period:
@Zane- solid find here, thank you for sharing
You said that, you’ll do a Bergman study in winter. Is it about to happen.
I’ll be eagerly waiting for it. 😁😁
@M*A*S*H- I’m going to try to find time. I hope I can- this would be a fun study.
I’ll be waiting Drake.
I wanted to say that when talking of color in Bergman films, Autumn sonata rarely shows up. It’s a travesty cause it’s color palette is one of the best in cinema history. So Bergman has made many movies set in various seasons “summer” With Monica Or virgin “spring” Or “winter” Light but they were b&w. Autumn sonata is in color and It’s gorgeous. The curtains of Ullmann’s house are orange-ish giving an orange-ish shade to the light. The candles, the dreses. In the famous Piano scene, Ingrid is wearing a shade of redish orange and Ullmann is wearing grey green- wow what a choice. It’s filled with autumn colors and is an amazing movie in general.
So Bergman has my vote for being cinema ‘s best writer period and often his writing and vision work together but here I think the writing and acting surpasses his vision. It’s less of a criticism of his vision here and more of a praise for it’s writing & acting.
It’s year’s best screenplay and best production design not to mention two of years greatest performances. I’ve always liked Ullmann more here maybe because she’s transformed from head to toe (almost unrecognizable) and her monologues always give me chills of DDL’s climactic acting in TWBB. Especially the one in which she talks about her inferiority complex and self hatred. It’s one of the best written characters she is vicious, vindictive, jealous of her mother (proven by the piano scene- the way she asks for her mother’s rendition of the music) but at the same time looking for her approval. She’s framing stories, telling her version of the truth, painting herself as a victim, exaggerating what really happened, in short she is trying to hurt someone who used to hurt her in past. She creates such violence with her words (and she is the same actress who literally drove someone crazy with her silence in Persona). Her carefully calculated vulnerability is so well written and performed.
“there are hundreds of impressive framed/blocked faces in Bergman’s oeuvre”
Here is a great video:
there are hundreds of impressive framed/blocked faces in Bergman’s oeuvre
@Pedro – sorry forgot to post video ha
here it is:
@James Trapp- Great share here- excellent video- thank you!
@Drake – makes me excited for deep dive into Bergman, hopefully will get to start within the next couple of months
Winter Light was a revelation. I am awestruck by the power of such a seemingly simple set up. I have viewed this once before but wanted to revisit this and Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest (1951) ever since watching First Reformed (2017). Visually it has such incredible stark photography. It is so uncompromisingly bleak.
Gunnar Björnstrand is incredible of course, his character so cynical, self hating, and clearly damaged just like the Ethan Hawke character in First Reformed. Ebert posits that Bergman uses the Björnstrand character to vent his own personal frustrations with his faith. I think he may be on to something here.
I think what really floors me with much of Bergman’s work (I see have only seen a small overall portion although I have seen most of his highest ranked worked aside from Fanny and Alexander (1982) is that he makes films that on the surface would seem to not be cinematic in nature. Yet Bergman can make films which feature a lot of long conversations with little physical action but still find ways to shoot films without long uncinematic stretches.
Get that “MS/” out of there for Winter’s Light! 🙂 Full on Masterpiece
@Meechy – Here’s hoping!
Hello Drake. Hope you are doing well.
How did the study go. Have you completed it?
(1) How many Bergman films do you have in the archives now.
(2) Any major developments. I saw that Wild Strawberries is now a MS.
@AP- Thank you for the comment. I’m up through 1980 so far on Bergman. So I think that’s 33 films. 29 of them are in the archives. A whopping 11 (I believe) of them are MS or better so far and that’s with Fanny and Alexander still to go. There were plenty of surprises and even if Wild Strawberries took a little step back, that is the outlier, I was underrating way more of Bergman’s films than I was overrating.
@Drake- is there a way by which you can share the grades you alloted to the movies after your study.
If not here then I follow you on Instagram and you can message them to me.
Summer Interlude HR
Sawdust and Tinsel R
Summer With Monika HR
Smiles of a Summer Night HR
The Seventh Seal MP
Wild Strawberries MP
The Magician R
The Virgin Spring MS
Through a Glass Darkly HR
The Silence MS
Winter’s Light MS
Hour of the Wolf MS
The Passion of Anna HR
Cries and Whispers MP
Scenes From a Marriage MS
Face to Face R
Autumn Sonata HR
Fanny and Alexander MS
@Drake – I’m planning on getting to more Bergman soon and was wondering, out of: Through a Glass Darkly, The Passion of Anna and The Magician – did any of these films improve from an R grade during your study and are definitely worth prioritising?
Also in your study did you get the films considered his worst, Serpents Egg and The Rite and if so are they really that bad?
@Harry- Keep us posted when you get to more Bergman. So I believe I saw 36 films and 32 are in the archives. Serpent’s Egg is in the archives- The Rite is not. I think all three of the films you mention previously jumped up a bit- but the biggest jump was Face to Face I believe. My rule of thumb though that I learned long ago though with great auteurs- is to try to see them all. So I mean certainly there are some Bergman films that are more important to see than others- but if you have the time I would see as much as you can get your hands on.
Three years after everyone, I’ve finally gotten my hands on the Criterion Bergman Boxset, and Wow, having not seen a single of his films, it’s almost overwhelming how massive Bergman’s career feels !
What should a Bergman newbie like me start with when exploring his filmography ?
@Jeff- my vote would be The Seventh Seal
Had some time off work over the past month and had the opportunity to watch all 44 Bergman feature films. Really enjoyed it.
My top 15
1. Persona MP
2. The Seventh Seal MP
3. Fanny and Alexander MP
4. Wild Strawberries MP
5. Cries and Whispers MP
6. Winter Light MP
7. The Silence MS
8. The Virgin Spring MS
9. Scenes from a Marriage MS
10. Face to Face MS
11. Hour of the Wolf MS
12. Autumn Sonata MS
13. Through a Glass Darkly HR
14. The Passion of Anna HR
15. Smiles of a Summer Night HR
@LeBron Smith- Good for you- wow, impressive! Thank you for sharing this. Love to see the appreciation for Face to Face here.
I’m sure you are finished with your Bergman study by now.
What did you make of Face to Face this time? Is it a top 5 of the year quality?
@M*A*S*H- Yes, MS grade
I always thought that the film is much more than what people made it sound to be.
Now does that affect Liv Ullmann’s placement on your list because now her resume is unparalleled (if it wasn’t already). This grants her 6 mentions as year’s best. More than any other actress.
@M*A*S*H- I think it still keeps her behind Ingrid overall- but yes, crazy close. Maybe they are 1 and 1A.
Which version of Scenes from Marriage do you prefer or have seen – miniseries or 2 hr 46 min cut?
@Harry- I have seen both- for this most recent study I saw the miniseries/longer version. The longer version gives more depth and nuance to the characters and the relationship- but the shorter version holds all of the major cinematic highpoints. I’ll continue to alternative versions when seeing it in the future.
@Drake-What version of Apocalypse Now(1979) do you prefer? Theatrical, Redux or Final Cut? Also what do you think about the scene of Brando reading a newspaper to Sheen. That’s the only time we see Brando in sheer day light. I think this scene is only included in the Redux version.
@Malith- Same idea here for me- I alternate them- in 2022 I caught the Redux version again.
Drake, did Hour of the Wolf get upgraded in the recent study? I thought it had some truly impressive imagery and would have it higher than an HR myself after one viewing.
@Harry – It did- but only a half grade- I have it as a HR/MS and have it as that on my 1968 page (sorry this page is so old now). I think I’ve been able to see it 4 times over the years- probably still not enough.