Bergman, Death, and Redemption: reflections on Essential Bergman, Curated by David Stratton

artemis projects

For the 62nd Sydney Film Festival Australian film critic David Stratton selected ten “essential” Ingmar Bergman films to screen as part of a major retrospective of the maverick Swedish director.

After watching all ten of them, below is an account of my experience:

To watch Bergman is to watch a human being looking death in the eye. Like other great modernist writers and thinkers, Bergman contemplates what it means to be alive through its corollary- what it means to die. Moreover, characters and temperaments reveal themselves most clearly in the face of death.

From the first film in the series – and the ten films were screened chronologically – Bergman’s earliest, the 1955 Smiles of a Summer Night (but by no means his first film – his 16th to be precise!), this intimate relationship with death is explored through the brilliant, macabre scene wherein Fredrik and Count Malcolm, rivals in…

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