“Simon: How about Hitchcock? Is he someone you learned from?
Bergman: Yes, of course.
S: Technically, I suppose. But isn’t there a great intellectual emptiness in his work?
B: Completely, but I think he’s a very good technician. And he has something in Psycho, he had some moments. Psycho is one of his most interesting pictures because he had to make the picture very fast, with very primitive means. He had little money, and the picture tells very much about him. Not very good things. He is completely infantile, and I would like to know more — no, I don’t want to know — about his behavior with, or rather against, women. But the picture is very interesting. I learned a lot from all those Americans who knew their profession.”
God, the more I read from Bergman the less I like him as a person. What a shitty thing to say about someone you’ve never met.
i completely agree with BERGY that HITCHCOCK is “completely infantile” because if you look back to HITCHCOCK’s films since the very beginning, he was a film director who likes to screw around but he does it with an incredibly masterful artistic way.—word
Bergman on Godard
“I’ve never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a fucking bore. He’s made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin/Féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mindnumbingly boring.”
- Jan Aghed, “När Bergman går på bio”, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 12 maj 2002
Hitchcock isn’t infantile. Even watching something like The Farmer’s Daughter there is a huge amount of maturity shown in style, and story, and by the time he made Vertigo I don’t see how anyone could accuse him of any sort of immaturity on any level.
Bergman was an opinionated guy, but it doesn’t make me like him or his films less. He was a bit crazy too. When he was a kid, a friend of his told on him, so he tried to stab him with a knife.
Bergman on Antonioni:
He’s done two masterpieces, you don’t have to bother with the rest. One is Blow-Up, which I’ve seen many times, and the other is La Notte, also a wonderful film, although that’s mostly because of the young Jeanne Moreau. In my collection I have a copy of Il Grido, and damn what a boring movie it is. So devilishly sad, I mean. You know, Antonioni never really learned the trade. He concentrated on single images, never realising that film is a rhythmic flow of images, a movement. Sure, there are brilliant moments in his films. But I don’t feel anything for L’Avventura, for example. Only indifference. I never understood why Antonioni was so incredibly applauded. And I thought his muse Monica Vitti was a terrible actress."
- Jan Aghed, “När Bergman går på bio”, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, 12 maj 2002.
“He wasn’t a technician, Antonioni, God should bear witness to that. But he had things said.”
Bergman on Tarkovsky:
“My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle.Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how.Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”
This is interesting. I’ve read a lot that Woody Allen has said about his idol Bergman but I’m curious if Bergman ever offered opinions of Allen’s work. I think it’s fascinating what great directors have to say about one another.
I agree with what he says about Godard, I’ve tried really hard to get into his films but I can’t. BORING. And I totally agree with what he says about Tarkovsky.
Other than that he can just STFU.
Bergman on Welles
“For me he’s just a hoax. It’s empty. It’s not interesting. It’s dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of – is all the critics’ darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it’s a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie’s got is absolutely unbelievable. Aghed:
How about The Magnificent Ambersons?
Bergman: Nah. Also terribly boring. And I’ve never liked Welles as an actor, because he’s not really an actor. In Hollywood you have two categories, you talk about actors and personalities. Welles was an enormous personality, but when he plays Othello, everything goes down the drain, you see, that’s when he’s croaks. In my eyes he’s an infinitely overrated filmmaker."
Jay, I could be wrong, but I remember somewhere Liv Ullmann saying Bergman really enjoyed Allen’s films.
Bergman om Kurosawa
“Now I want tom make it plain that The Virgin Spring must be regarded as an aberration. It’s touristic, a lousy imitation of Kurosawa. At that time my admiration for the Japanese cinema was at its height. I was almost a samurai myself!”
- Ingmar Bergman in Bergman on Bergman, 1970
I think the cold up there in Sweden is making him grouchy.
Bergman seems to only like directors whose sense of the world or of cinema mirrors his own in certain ways. Spiritual, rigorous, essentially naturalistic.
Is that true, Justin? I really know very little about Bergman but that surprises me. I can’t imagine only liking films that are similar to my own or have similar themes. That just seems so limiting but I suppose to each his own.
Bergman seems like an extreme egoist so, it actually make a lot of sense that he enjoyed films in which he could see his worldview.
Bergman on De Sica
“[T]he film I like more than any other, and which I suppose I must have seen a hundred times: De Sica’s Umberto D.”
Where’s the quote on Hitchcock from?
Bergman’ own top 10
In connection to the 18th Göteborg Film Festival 1994, Bergman chose his eleven all time favourite films:
The Circus (Charles Chaplin, USA 1928)
Port of Shadows (Quai des brumes, Marcel Carné, France 1938)
The Conductor (Dyrygent, Andrzej Wajda, Poland 1979)
Raven’s End (Kvarteret Korpen, Bo Widerberg, Sweden 1963)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d’Arc, Carl Th. Dreyer, France 1927)
The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen, Victor Sjöström, Sweden 1921)
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, Japan 1951)
The Road (La Strada, Federico Fellini, Italy 1954)
Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, USA 1950)
Two German Sisters (Die bleierne Zeit, Margarethe von Trotta, BRD 1981)
Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union 1969)
“It is difficult to say how some of these films have influenced Ingmar. Obviously, they had a great meaning for him. He knows what influenced him and in what way he drew upon them. So I’m sure these were the big influences – but I myself don’t see it. I would have thought more of… Fritz Lang.”
- Woody Allen
Sunset Blvd. and the von Trotta are interesting choices.
I wonder what Bergman would have thought of Herzog.
“There’s only one thing worse than a man who doesn’t have strong likes and dislikes, and that’s a man who has strong likes and dislikes without the courage to voice them.”- Tony Randall
I don’t agree with all Bergman’s assessments but I definitely respect the conviction of his opinions. Also, I’m pleased when anyone cites Chaplin’s The Circus. I think it belongs (but is rarely mentioned) in the discussion of the greatest silent films ever made.
Jay, why is The Circus so ignored? It might be the funniest movie ever.
I don’t know. It’s all subjective, but to me it’s a flawless movie, amazing stunts, an efficient and affecting story and a great ending. I agree it’s a funny film but when citing the funniest movies, I tend to think more of things like Young Frankenstein or Borat which can leave one gasping for breath. To veer a bit back onto subject, I wonder what Bergman liked about it or any of his picks. It would be interesting to see a commentary on the selections from him. I was really surprised by how many funny moments there were in The Seventh Seal. While watching the squire give a play by play on the feuding couple I realized that my preconception of him as a ’somber filmmaker was really off base. When you actually watch Bergman instead of just reading about him, you can see what Woody Allen might have drawn from him.
Jay, Yes me too, but The Circus might be the only silent film that had me gasping for breath. Modern Times also, maybe.
>>I was almost a samurai myself!<<
Why am I having a tough time seeing Bergman swinging a sword around … ?
Tarkovsky also took a liking to Japanese films and Samurai swords on his film course
Bergman, like Bresson and Herzog (among others) is pretty hard on some other famous names and films. Criticism of Hitch as juvenile strikes me as a sign of over-seriousness, we should keep impish childishness in us to come out from time to time
Tarkovsky calls Kurosawa a genius in SCULPTING IN TIME.
As for Bergman’s opinions on Hitchcock, well fuck Bergman. I don’t see anything infantile about NOTORIOUS.
yes i’m with you on Hitch and Notorious but there was another Japanese master Tarkovsky especially admired, wasn’t there, a soaring soul indeed
i love these quotes, keep’em coming please!
on bresson maybe, anyone? bunuel?
by the way, why is chabrol rarely mentionned as one of the greatest? i don’t see why ‘le boucher’ would be any less brilliant than any hitchcock, any less profound than any tarkovsky.