The close-up is Ingmar Bergman's stock in trade. No other filmmaker has so relentlessly dwelt on the human face in the attempt to lay bare the soul behind it. His new film, Autumn Sonata, is once again pledged to the nuances and intensities of the aggrandized countenance.
Wasn't the close-up, it may be asked, the invention and the glory of the silent film? In an eloquent passage in his Theory of the Film, Bela Balazs wrote about the "spiritual dimension" into which silent films would probe with their big close-ups of human faces, the "silent soliloquy" or "mute dialogue" that could be enacted through the sustained enlargement of facial expression…. [In] Bergman the close-up is less a...
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