Full Review: SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN (Germany/France 2018) ****

Searching for Ingmar Bergman Poster
Trailer

Internationally renowned director Margarethe von Trotta takes a closer look at Bergman’s life and work and explores his film legacy with Bergman’s closest collaborators, both in front and … See full summary »

Writers:

Margarethe von Trotta (concept), Felix Moeller (concept)

German director Margarethe von Trotta pays tribute to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman

in honour of the centennial of his birth. Von Trotta presents a detailed account of his life and his impact on filmmaking through excerpts of his work and interviews with family and contemporaries (Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Love, Ruben Ostlund).  

Her film begins with a segment of THE SEVENTH SEAL with actor Max Von Sydow and explanation of each shot in detail.  Von Sydow is seen waking up on a beach with his squire by his side.  He is seeing washing his face before meeting the Grim Reaper.  There is a fadeout of a chess board with the pieces washed away by the sea.  Each shot is explain by the voiceover, thus allowing the audience to see a different interpretation of the details as well as the mastery of Bergman’s work.

There is a compilation of Bergman’s other films including his more famous ones like WILD STRAWBERRIES, CRIES AND WHISPERS, HOUR OF THE WOLF and his later works like my personal favourite, the over 3-hour long FANNY AND ALEXANDER.

These and many other films are also displayed and put into perspective by actresses who have worked on many of Bergman’s films like Liv Ulmann who speak fondly of the man.  His thoughts and inability to love his own children are also revealed.  FANNY AND ALEXANDER however showed his brilliant portrayal of children.  Von Trotta maintains that all the children portrayed in his films are images of himself.  

The film briefly traces his personal life living in Stockholm as a child.  Nothing is said of his birthplace, the religious town of Uppsala, which I visited when I was in Sweden, being an ardent Bergman fan.

The film has limited footage of Bergman in interviews and on the set.  But these are rare footages prized in the documentary. 

The film is a bit long because it includes quite a few clips from the past Bergman classics.  But thy are an absolute pleasure to watch, so who is one to complain?  The most famous scene of all the Bergman’s films (the one where the elderly man looks into a coffin to see himself in it) is of course, in it.  I am surprised there was no shot of the image with the clock which has no hands.

The film whets the appetite for watching Bergman films, a retrospective of the Master’s work that will be presented by TIFF Cinematheque the fall of 2018.  Extremely insightful and a treasure for cineastes!  Von Trotta’s own film THE GERMAN SISTERS was selected by Bergman as one of his favourite films.

SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN is a doc to be seen by all those who not only love the Master but for all those who love the medium of film.  (Bergman was the first auteur that introduced me to non-commercial film in Singapore, his films provided courtesy by the Swedish Institute in Singapore).

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E91QEXSJ1Es

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TIFF 2018 Review: SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN (Germany/France 2018) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Searching for Ingmar Bergman Poster
Internationally renowned director Margarethe von Trotta takes a closer look at Bergman’s life and work and explores his film legacy with Bergman’s closest collaborators, both in front and …See full summary »

Writers:

Margarethe von Trotta (concept), Felix Moeller (concept)

 

German director Magareth von Trotta pays tribute to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in honour of the centennial of his birth. Margarethe von Trotta presents a detailed account of his life and his impact on filmmaking through excerpts of his work and interviews with family and contemporaries (Olivier Assyas, Mia Hansen-Love, Ruben Ostlund). 

 Her film begins with a segment of THE SEVENTH SEAL with actor Max Von Sydow and explanation of each shot in detail.  Many of his other films are also displayed  and put into perspective by actresses like Liv Ulmann who speak fondly of the man.  His thoughts and inability to love his own children are also revealed.  The film whets the appetite for watching Bergman films, a retrospective of the Master’s work that will be presented by TIFF Cinematheque this fall.  

Extremely insightful and a  treasure for cineastes!  Von Trotta’s own film THE GERMAN SISTERS was selected by Bergman as one of his favourite films.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGeHGcKh1KM

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Full Review: THE SQUARE (Sweden 2017) ***** Top 10

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

The Square Poster

Trailer

The Square is a poignant satirical drama reflecting our times – about the sense of community, moral courage and the affluent person’s need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world.

Director:

Ruben Östlund

Writer:

Ruben Östlund

 

What is THE SQUARE?  In director Östlund’s (FORCE MAJEURE) new film THE SQUARE, the square is a place of trust and caring where everyone shares equality and obligations.  It is also the name of the newest project of Museum Director Christian (Claes Bang) which he hopes will bring in money for the cutting edge art museum in Sweden he represents.  Christian hires two young TV publicists to spread the word on social media.

The film is made of a number of cinematic set-pieces.  If this method of filmmaking sounds familiar, it is used by Swedish director Roy Andersson (A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, SONGS FROM THE SECOD FLOOR) who happens to be director Östlund’s mentor.  Though these set-pieces appear unconnected on the surface, they upon close examination all tie into the greater scheme of Östlund’s universe.

These set pieces include:

the film’s most brilliantly executed segment set during the museum charity dinner where a wild man (a very scary Terry Notary) is let loose among the guests.  If the guests show any sign of fear or make any sudden moves, the wild animal will turn on the hunter after sensing his/her fear.  This art act ends up going out of control.

the post sex scene in when Christian and Anne (Elizabeth Moss) argue on who will take hold of the filled condom for disposal

the poor kid that confronts Christian on his act of accusing him of being a thief

the museum display of separating visitors into two sections; one that trust and the other that mistrust people.  In the trust section, the guests are supposed to leave their cell phones and wallets behind.

a TV interview gone terribly and embarrassingly wrong

the confrontational scene between Christian and Anne when Anne accuses Christian of using his position of power to attract women, a segment that seems to serve as a prophecy to the current Weinstein sex scandal.

One observable thing is that what happens to Christian after his downfall from museum director.  He is still questioned to no end, and not allowed to at least go into disgrace in peace.  When he decides to seek forgiveness from the boy he wronged, it turns out that he is unable to do so as the boy and family has moved.

One of the film’s best jokes in the film is the scene of the exhibit with the mounds of gravel that goes terribly wrong when the cleaner on the vacuum machine accidentally sucks up the dirt. 

The film is also not without arresting images, courtesy of cinematographer Fredrik Wenzel.  The two most striking ones include the shot of Christian building with escalators and star is rising above him like a maze (see trailer in link below) and the other with Christian in a heap of garbage as he searches for the piece of paper containing an important telephone number.

As in most successful satires on film (Terry Giliam’s BRAZIL), the story follows the downfall of the protagonist.  In THE SQUARE, Christian almost gets his chance to prove himself worthy of being a good human being by apologizing to the boy he has wronged.  But Östlund removes this opportunity in a twist of fate when he discovers the boy has moved with nor forwarding address.

The film deservedly won this year’s Palme d’or Prize. The film is as wicked a wicked satire can be as well as sexy, brilliant, complex and bitingly hilarious.  It is a cruel, absurd and unforgiving world we live in and Östlund has captured it masterfully in his minor-masterpiece.  Clearly the best film I have seen this year – hands down.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u77vsmBya2w

 

Submit your Screenplay to the Festival TODAY

TIFF 2017 Movie Review: THE SQUARE (Norway 2017) ***** Top 10

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

THE SQUARE.jpgThe Square is a poignant satirical drama reflecting our times – about the sense of community, moral courage and the affluent person’s need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world.

Director:

Ruben Östlund

Stars:

Claes BangElisabeth MossDominic West

In director Östlund’s (FORCE MAJEURE) film, the square is a place of trust and caring where everyone shares equality and obligations. It is also the name of the newest project of curator Christian (Claes Bang) which he hopes will bring in money for the cutting edge art museum in Sweden he represents.

Christian hires two young TV publicists to spread the word on social media. The film is made of a number of cinematic set-pieces. Though these set-pieces appear unconnected on the surface, they upon close examination all tie into the great scheme of Östlund’s universe.

The film is also not without arresting images, courtesy of cinematographer Fredrik Wenzel. The two most striking ones include the shot of Christian building with escalators and star is rising above him like a maze (see trailer in link below) and the other with Christian in a heap of garbage as he searches for the piece of paper containing an important address.

The film deservedly won this year’s Palme d’or Prize. The film is as wicked a wicked satire can be as well as sexy, brilliant, complex and bitingly hilarious. It is a cruel, absurd and unforgiving world we live in and Östlund has captured it masterfully in his minor-masterpiece. Clearly the best film I have seen this year – hands down.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u77vsmBya2w