Woke up this morning to a peculiarly overcast day. An almost mystical fog, gorgeous in its contemplative greyness, with a monochrome purity that reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on… An adjective escaping me… Oh, yes, Bergman-esque.
With morning coffee in hand and the chirping of TV news in the background, I savored the ashen backdrop outside the bedroom window. My reverie was interrupted by MSNBC talking head Mika Brezinski (Zbigniew‘s daughter) relaying the news of the great Ingmar Bergman‘s passing.
Words fail me now, but I shall do the best with my paltry expressions, the sum of which could not begin to do justice to Bergman’s singular artistry. He was a Titan among filmmakers, a virtuoso of language and moving image. His films are poignant and provocative thought-poems, astute in their archetypal lingua francas.
But Bergman was no mere abstractionist. His films are eminently soulful, even as they parse the most pernicious of human behaviors.
From the eternal symbolics (and gallows humor) of The Seventh Seal, to the profound reflectiveness of Wild Strawberries and the unflinching examinations of faith, mortality and madness that are Through a Glass Darkly, The Silence and Winter Light, Bergman masterfully led his cast of regulars through the forests and deserts of the soul.
Beauty, introspection, alienation, fear, benevolence, and the quest for greater spiritual truths are the hallmarks of all Bergman works, whether they be tense chamber pieces or intrepid paeans to nature and her Mysteries.
Bergman passed quietly on his beloved island of Faro, off Sweden’s Baltic coast, no doubt surrounded by his yellow-lined paper pads and sharpened pencils. He was 89 years old.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Bergman, and Godspeed.