I saw this bitchin’ concept as a refreshing way to talk about my favorite filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman. My mixtape is essentially a list of movies that I feel are directly influenced by Bergman’s work. For any number of reasons, they are movies that Bergman could’ve made. So, without further ado, here’s my Bergman Not By Bergman mixtape.
Altman’s masterful 3 Women chronicles the very unnerving relationship between two friends, played by Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall. Altman said the film was based on a dream, and was never quite sure what it was about. So, at its core, we have a mysterious little movie, starring mysterious women, concocted from fragmented memories of a dream. Yeah, that sounds like a Bergman film all right.
Another Woman (Woody Allen, 1988)
Bergman’s films have had a more significant impact over Woody Allen’s career than anything else. Famously, Allen once said Bergman was “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera.”
And, without question, the most Bergmanesque film Allen ever made was his criminally ignored Another Woman. The film, about a spiteful author (Gena Rowlands) recounting her life, makes a great companion piece to Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. It’s certainly no coincidence that Another Woman is by far my favorite Woody Allen film.
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
I’ve often described my favorite Bergman film, Persona, as a vivid fever dream that dares to be scrutinized. Try to force your way too far down the rabbit hole, and you’ll likely emerge more confused. Accept it for what it’s worth, and you can bask in the hellish atmosphere. Shit, I just described Mulholland Dr. as well, didn’t I?
In the Bedroom (Todd Field, 2001)
There aren’t too many modern American films that value time and silence as much as Field’s In the Bedroom. The movie captures the despair of its characters through stark, barren imagery, and contoured faces of anguish. Bergman was a great admirer of stillness – of putting a camera right in front of an actor’s face and letting the story unfold. I only wish more contemporary films shared Field’s vision.
The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)
I believe Michael Haneke to be as close to a living Bergman as we have. Both directors were tedious with their patience, concise with their dialogue, cruel with their images, and on and on. The White Ribbon feels like the most appropriate film for this list. It would’ve been Bergman at his most epic; his most vast and all-telling. I’d be really curious to know if Bergman ever saw Haneke’s films. I’d love to know what he thought.
Wild Card: Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009)
Had Bergman lived a few years longer, I can imagine him saying “Fuck it” and delivering a film that really pushed the limits of the most warped facets of his psyche. Antichrist, while an extreme example of this imagining of mine, seems fitting for atmosphere alone. It’s stark and horrifying before we really know how stark and horrifying it actually is. It’s a great mix of Hour of the Wolf and Persona, with, admittedly, a whole hell of a lot of von Trier mixed in.