Ingmar Bergman Names the 11 Films He Liked Above All Others (1994)

bergman favorites

Image via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

You may remem­ber our Octo­ber post on Ing­mar Bergman’s eval­u­a­tion of his equal­ly titan­ic col­leagues in cin­e­ma, from Jean-Luc Godard (“affect­ed”) to Alfred Hitck­cock (“infan­tile”). Though the Bergman faith­ful and fans Andrei Tarkovsky often find much to dis­agree about, the Swedish direc­tor of pic­tures like Wild Straw­ber­ries and Per­sona had the absolute high­est praise for the Russ­ian direc­tor of pic­tures like Andrei Rublev and Solaris. (Watch Tarkovsky’s major films free online here.) “When film is not a doc­u­ment, it is dream,” said Bergman. “That is why Tarkovsky is the great­est of them all. He moves with such nat­u­ral­ness in the room of dreams. He does­n’t explain. He is a spec­ta­tor, capa­ble of stag­ing his visions in the most unwieldy but, in a way, the most will­ing of media. All my life I have ham­mered on the doors of the rooms in which he moves so nat­u­ral­ly.”

And now we have a few more words the old­er mas­ter spoke about the younger, whom he phys­i­cal­ly out­lived — but, by his own admis­sion, could­n’t artis­ti­cal­ly out­do — thanks to a cer­tain Tyler Har­ris, who post­ed them to My Cri­te­ri­on. In his remarks there, Bergman con­tin­ues with the metaphor of Tarkovsky an an inhab­i­tant of a realm of dreams: “Sud­den­ly, I found myself stand­ing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, nev­er been giv­en to me,” Bergman said of first watch­ing Andrei Rublev, which he named at the Göte­borg Film Fes­ti­val 1994 as a favorite. “I felt encour­aged and stim­u­lat­ed: some­one was express­ing what I had always want­ed to say with­out know­ing how.” He also select­ed Fed­eri­co Fellini’s La Stra­da, which prompt­ed a back­ground sto­ry about his ill-fat­ed col­lab­o­ra­tion with Felli­ni and Aki­ra Kuro­sawa under leg­endary pro­duc­er Dino de Lau­ren­ti­is. Kuro­sawa’s own Rashomon, which you can watch free online, also appears on this favorites list of Bergman’s, which runs, alpha­bet­i­cal­ly, as fol­lows:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ing­mar Bergman Eval­u­ates His Fel­low Film­mak­ers — The “Affect­ed” Godard, “Infan­tile” Hitch­cock & Sub­lime Tarkovsky

Mar­tin Scors­ese Reveals His 12 Favorite Movies (and Writes a New Essay on Film Preser­va­tion)

Ing­mar Bergman’s Soap Com­mer­cials Wash Away the Exis­ten­tial Despair

Stan­ley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Cre­at­ed)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

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Comments (6)
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  • Rain,adustbowlstory says:

    I get that Sun­set Boule­vard is good, but I’ve nev­er under­stood why it’s wonderful.nnnAnd it’s so, so depress­ing.

  • Jkop says:

    I don’t get Bergman’s alleged “genius”. I do, how­ev­er, get the pur­pose of these lists, or when a direc­tor gives praise to anoth­er direc­tor, and so on. It has very lit­tle to do with the alleged artis­tic qual­i­ties of those films.

  • lokezombie says:

    I don’t under­stand what Jkop is talk­ing about. I think that a list of your favorite films might be just that. A list of your favorite films. We all have one. And I would expect any film mak­er to have favorite movies. You don’t become a film mak­er unless you love movies (at least not an art­house movie type of guy).

    As to Bergman’s genius. I don’t know, I guess you just have to be into the art­house movies? Because he’s like, if you put movies on a con­tin­u­um, with Michelan­ge­lo Anto­nioni on one end and Michael Bay on the oth­er, he would be very close to the Anto­nioni side. That is to say that, it might be a bit too art­sy for some peo­ple to endure. And that’s per­fect­ly fine. Every­one has their own taste. Some peo­ple get them and some peo­ple don’t. Or maybe you love art­house but just don’t like Bergman, not your cup of tea, that’s fine too. It’s all good, dif­fer­ent strokes for dif­fer­ent folks as they say.

    As for me, he’s not my favorite but I do like his movies. It’s more like watch­ing a paint­ing or a visu­al poem. I can’t real­ly put my fin­ger on it though. At the risk of sound­ing pre­ten­tious, I think it’s the mise en scene, the look and feel of his movies. I like the mood and espe­cial­ly the set­tings, I can’t explain it some­thing about the world of his films is just real­ly plea­sur­able to watch for me. They are moody, evoca­tive, raw. Though I haven’t seen that many, only the black and white ones, not the col­or ones so I don’t know about them. But that’s how I would describe the ones I’ve seen any­way.

    My favorite movie of his is The Magi­cian. It’s kind of a minor film I guess, but it’s a good exam­ple of the way he can just cre­ate a great visu­al world to set his sto­ries in. There is some­thing dreamy about all his movies (that I’ve seen any­way). I would rec­om­mend that movie for sure.

  • piotr malak says:

    i do like your site

  • Erik Brickman says:

    Well put Mr. Loke­zom­bie!

  • Alexander Soifer says:

    Andrei Rublev’s date is way off at the list­ed 1971. If mem­o­ry holds, it was made in 1966, and released (thanks to Sovi­et tyran­ny) only in 1968.

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