Posts Tagged ‘Ingmar Bergman’

Trailerama Classic: Das Schlangenei (The Serpent’s Egg)

February 5, 2010

We don’t remember the David Carradine obituaries mentioning his one foray with Ingmar Bergman. Nor do Bergman hagiographies dwell very long on his late-’70s look at Weimar decadence. It’s considered a low-point from the time when the dour Swede, living as a tax exile in West Germany, entered an unholy alliance with Dino De Laurentiis. Carradine plays a Jewish acrobat whose nocturnal sojourns bring him too close to Berlin’s rotting core and Liv Ullman’s underarm fuzz. Dave Kehr says Bergman “comes very close to camp,” while the Time Out Film Guide warns “Bergman’s paranoia runs dementedly and tediously out of control.” In other words, essential viewing. The sloppy look suggests even Sven Nykvist has his off days.

Antichrist: Vu de l’extérieur

January 14, 2010

It says something about the extraordinary Antichrist that the first time Squally saw it, the film felt like a comedy. The second time, it felt like a tragedy. The movie was greeted with jeers at Cannes, which writer/director Lars von Trier brushed off with the proclamation, “I am the world’s greatest filmmaker.”

The critics were trying to take Antichrist too seriously. In dealing with the disintegration of a woman, after all, Von Trier was walking on hallowed ground. The cracked woman is a favorite trope of (male) directors, whether it’s Marnie or Rebecca, Catherine Deneuve in Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Monica Vitti in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert, any number of women in Bergman’s films, Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes’s A Woman Under the Influence, Julianne Moore in Todd Haynes’s Safe, or especially Isabelle Huppert in The Piano Teacher, by von Trier’s bete noire, Michael Haneke. Squally could go on, but let’s just say that it’s one of the greatest clichés of the art house cinema: a beautiful woman goes to pieces, the beautiful actress who plays her is acclaimed for the performance.

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