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Paying Existential Respects to a Swedish Bad Ass


courtesy of Criterion Collection

The Godless Universe Loves An Existential Bad Ass
While killing time between screenings in the Anderson Boys movie marathon, I built an altar in the lobby of the Castro after learning the last remaining European auteur immortal, Sweden’s Ingmar Bergman decided to take a dirt nap on us at the tender age of 89.

Widely considered the last filmmaker willing to conquer big themes like the nature of God, death and humanity, Bergman was the definitive art house genius whose work in early masterpieces like The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries and later films such as Persona and Cries and Whispers scoured the depths of the corrupt human psyche.


Wild Strawberries, courtesy of Criterion Collection

Every film lover should take a moment to say goodbye to an original who (when he retired in 1983) left us wondering if anyone will ever make movies like that again … The answer to that question is, uh, no. Bergman’s dramas redefined the cinematic landscape forever, and ever, and ever – just ask Woody Allen.

Don’t let the fact he’s muerto stop you from enjoying his massive contribution, after all, his movies are about death and existential angst so (in a way) this is the perfect time to get into bed with the brooding ghost of this profound artist. If you’re like me and always on the hunt for a slice of cinematic truth, you’ll thank me in the morning. After all … we all eventually have to play Father Death in a chess match for our lives, so better get used to the Grim Reapers moves, right? Word round the celestial water cooler is he’s a sneaky bastard …

And so it is and so it was, until next week, this is your favorite Existential Cowboy signing off. Be bad and, get into trouble baby*.

Ingmar Bergman DVD Picks to Click
•    Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
•    The Seventh Seal (1956)
•    Wild Strawberries (1957)
•    Persona (1965)
•    Fanny and Alexander (1983)

Happenings Round Town:
Dead Channels: San Francisco Festival of Fantastic Film - Castro and Roxie from August 9-16.
The fest kicks off tonight at Castro with Happy Birthday Wanda June, Dir. Robson (1971)
(For a complete film list check the website for details.)

Volume 24 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder.
•     “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.