CRIES AND WHISPERS

July 30, 2007.

I want very much to tell, to talk about, the wholeness inside every human being. It’s a strange thing that every human being has a sort of dignity or wholeness in him, and out of that develops relationships to other human beings, tensions, misunderstandings, tenderness, coming in contact, touching and being touched, the cutting off of a contact and what happens then. ~ Ingmar Bergman

We have lost another of our greatest filmmakers. Ingmar Bergman, age 89, passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was working up until the end- recently directing Saraband, a beautiful follow-up to his film Scenes from a Marriage– and consistently directing for theatre and television.

I am a long-time Bergman fan. I saw The Seventh Seal when I was very young and its images are seared into my memory. Persona and Faithless (written by Bergman but directed by Liv Ullman) are two of my other favorites. Bergman is famous for his work with female actors; he was fascinated by women and in his films women are portrayed with unusual depth, complexity, and sensitivity. Then, about a year ago, I was going through a marital separation and saw both Scenes from a Marriage and Saraband in succession. I was tremendously moved by Bergman’s perception of marriage and how truth, lies, vulnerability, compassion, forgiveness, pain, and the passage of time are the elements that polish, heal, and sometimes destroy the relationship between two people.

Bergman was known for his obsession with religion, spirituality, time, and the human condition. He was a wonderful writer as well and penned most of his screenplays. Watching a Bergman film is like meditating. The viewer is given the space and time for contemplation, reflection, and observation. One leaves a Bergman film feeling touched on a soul level.

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