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auteurs du cinéma

It's almost synchronicitous, two of the greatest masters of European 'auteur cinema' passing away on the same day. Both Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni embodied the idea - originally proposed by François Truffaut in the Cahiers du Cinéma - of the film director as a lone visionary with an unmistakable, signature style.

Both Bergman and Antonioni produced highly personal and philosophical films. Perhaps they had an existentialist world view in common, but otherwise they were indeed singular auteurs, Bergman with his bleak soul- and God-searching, and Antonioni with his minimalist framing and mise-en-scene.

Having seen embarrassingly few of their many films, it would be more fitting if this were a tributary to-watch list. Still, when thinking of what I have seen of them, there are some memorable, even archetypical images that come to mind.

With Bergman, there is of course the famous chess game on the beach with Death, from 'The Seventh Seal' (watch the scene here). But even more memorable is a scene from 'The Virgin Spring' (of which I remember nothing except that particular scene), a single long shot showing a man (Max von Sydow) wrestling with a tree.

The Virgin Spring

Thinking of Antonioni, the most iconic image may just be the poster for 'Blow-up' (based on a story by Julio Cortázar), his highly influential, endlessly interpreted, theorized and schematized film about the nature of images. This image captures not only the image-obsession but also the great '60s London atmosphere.



Terry Gilliam summed up his latest film ' Tideland ', based on the novel by Mitch Cullin , as ' Alice in Wonderland ' meets ' Psycho '. A sinister and surreal fairytale, 'Tideland' is far less visually extravagant than Gilliam's earlie… Read the full post »

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