Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ingmar Bergman, sui generis?

While just about all the obits and appreciations I've read of the admittedly great Ingmar Bergman unfailingly note his influence on film makers who followed him, I haven't seen any that mention the undoubted influence on Bergman of the great Danish director, Carl Dreyer. I don't know if Bergman ever publicly acknowledged Dreyer's imprint, but anyone who has watched any movie of the almost-30-years-older Dane couldn't help but notice it.

3 comments:

  1. Kelly2:13 PM

    Though a few other critics have noticed an influence there, Bergman himself claimed none: "One of the greatest of all is certainly Japan's Kurosawa, but the one I feel closest to in spirit is Fellini. His La Dolce Vita seemed to me very fine, very exciting. I admire Hiroshima, Mon Amour, find it enormously interesting, but with no bearing whatsoever on what I am trying to do. As for the Americans, Hitchcock most of all. He has taught me so much. What he does is always precise, done with professional expertness, and at the same time he is always experimenting. Oh, I like him! Another who I consider one of my teachers was Victor Sjöström, when he was directing films. Carl Dreyer, the Danish director, has never been an influence. I find myself very remote from him and, in fact, his films have never touched me."

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  2. Thanks Kelly. That's interesting. I can't believe Bergman didn't credit Dreyer with having any effect on his own development. Reminds me of that phrase Harold Bloom applied to writers, "the anxiety of influence".

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  3. Anonymous8:44 AM

    John:

    You are absolutely right about Dreyer, who, like Bergman was haunted by the specters of death and authroitarian religion. I had a sentence or two about Dreyer in my obit but had to trim for space.

    Carrie

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