Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Working My Way Through Bergman

Often I tell my kids what life was like for a movie fan in the 1970's. They can't even believe that once a movie left the theater, there was a pretty good possibility that you'd never see it again. I remember scouring TV Guide or the Newsday equivalent, to make sure I caught an old movie late at night. The VHS revolution was a godsend, but, even so, it was a frustrating experience. For every 20 copies of Tango & Cash, there might be one of Yojimbo. Seen it.

I don't recall when I discovered Home Film Festival, but I think it was in the early '90's. They were a video rental service with a monster catalog of silent, foreign and cult films. It wasn't cheap, 21 bucks for three movies, but it was worth it. With HFF, I finally tore through all Kurosawa, Fellini and Truffaut, and caught up on a mess of pre-talkies. I still remember N. and I watching Buster Keaton's Spite Marriage. N. still talks about the scene where Buster is putting on a false beard and almost cuts his ear off with a pair of scissors.
Then came Netflix and the three movie a week schedule I've kept up for seven years. Now, finally, I'm making my way through Bergman. Unlike Truffaut or Fellini, thoughtful directors who made enjoyable movies that I could watch every week. Bergman is a a hammer blow and it takes a long time for me to process his work. I saw Persona months ago (maybe it was last year) and I'm still thinking about it.

Last night I watched The Virgin Spring. I won't get into too many plot details, but I can tell you that it was very disturbing, in a way 1960 films were not. The ending threw me into a state of emotion I haven't felt since von Trier's Breaking the Waves.

It's interesting to note that The Virgin Spring was sorta remade into Wes Craven's Last House on the Left. Never saw it. I have a real fear of 1970's horror classics. There, I said it. They always feel too real. I'm not sure I could handle it.

So, until I'm mentally ready for the next Bergman opus, it's a strict diet of Erik the Viking and Iron Man 2.

No comments: