28
Jan 05

secret pash residue it’s actually kinda NICE to rediscover

Do You SeePost a comment • 372 views

secret pash residue it’s actually kinda NICE to rediscover
(potential quickly-abandoned series alert):

i guess all of us (except maybe those who occasionally throw stuff away above and beyond eg crisp packets) have things like these – cultural items bought or gather to be more at one with someone at some past point seriously (and unrequitedly*) crushed on: they said they loved [x], and you made a special secret effort to pore over [x], for clues how to get them to adore you, and they’re no longer part of yr life lo these 394857 years, yet here in a hidden pile, uncovered by Resolution-driven Spring Cleanin and uncharacteristic no-computer-at-home-driven spare time, its primary purpose gone to the dust it gathers. Except hurrah! It’s actually maybe worth more in its own right than it wz in yr (er = my) original cunning (=silly) plan.

In this case, the object in question wz Ingmar Bergman’s super-gloomy “lost of faith” trilogy – or actually just the first one, “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961, starring Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Max von Sydow…), which i had been told wz “My favourite film ever!” (so yaroo! subtle route to deeps of heart ahoy!)

And C4, in an earlier artier time (c.1996-ish), had broadcast all three in successive weeks, and I’d set my video accordingly. But “TaGD” is tuff goin stuff (also i have now to say GIANT 500-FOOT-HIGH WARNING SIGN stuff, re objects of inadvisable romantic interest), and its successor “Winter Light” (1962, starring Bjornstrand, and Ingrid Thulin) is tuffer yet. eg TaGD = in a moomin-esque island-bound house, a young woman is succumbing inexorably to madness; WL = a Lutheran pastor and widower, losing his faith, is growing to despise the woman he lives with since his beloved wife died, the feeling somewhat mutual: the bitter film-long mutual recriminations are interrupted when a neighbour shoots himself in a nearby car-park

which is probbly why i had never even embarked on the third, “the silence” (1963) (and had in fact convinced myself it had not recorded). well, first, here is the ever-estimable LESLIE HALLIWELL (an un-tidied-up halliwell original review, this, mind, givin you a fine insight into the Grebt Capsule Reviewer’s mind and attitudes):
the silence (tystnaden): ingmar bergman 1963, cameraman sven nykvist
ingrid thulin; gunnel lindblom
Plot: “Of two women in a large hotel in a foreign city where the military are dominant; one masturbates while the other sleeps with a barman”
Review: “Bergman may have known what this was all about, but it’s a certainty that no one else did: so everyone thought it must be very clever and went to see it. Superficially, as usual, it is careful and fascinating’ (= this from the man whose review of Taxi Driver said – from memory sadly, as THIS review has been tidied into unhistory since LH’s death – “Its later scenes make no sense”)

OK, well, i did record it (all but the end credits) and my ph34rZ were groundless: “The Silence” is way more watchable and lyrical than its two predecessors, bcz it features something he wd later make the centre of his great late semi-autobiographical “Fanny and Alexander”, which is to say a small boy – the son of one of the two women (who may be sisters or may be lovers, or even both i spose) – wandering around the hotel, bored and unsupervised, and totally not told what’s going on and not really understanding it, even as he takes it all in (inc.the sex, the arguments, the war, a troupe of performing dwarves in a neighboring hotel room ,who adopt him for the afternoon then spurn him, and so on and so forth). The sense of the weird incomprehensiblity of adult behaviour is exactly (and I’d have said really OBVIOUSLY) the thing the entire film is “about”, and it’s moving and seductive and dream-like, even as the adult world is turning very horrible (actually what it most immediately reminds me of is the early section of kidlit classic The Secret Garden, when newly-orphaned Mary has arrived in the big empty house in Yorkshire and is wandering alone through its many empty rooms, trying to invent ways to pass the time: it’s obvious something awful or sinister or strange is going on, but – brought up in India not Yorkshire – she is an outsider and thus the last to realise this). The odd thing is that the boy (played by Jorgen Lindstrom) is often not even mentioned in summaries of the film, Halliwell more symptomatic here than anomalous.

bergman has become a bit of an easy target, for the pitiless bleakness of his portrayal of adult failings and weakness, for making movies you “feel you ought to admire” rather than actually like, but the payoff – as in fanny and alexander, as here – is his gift for re-visioning the world from a child’s perspective… today this seems almost an obvious dimension to access (maybe even over-explored), but i really don’t think it was yet at the start of the 60s

*this is u&k btw i suspect: memorabilia tied up to those who loved you back is a lot harder to see clear or new (and why wd you want to?)

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