Ingmar Bergman Richard Schickel - Essay

Richard Schickel

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Ingmar Bergman likes to speak of himself as a magician. The film maker, he notes, bases his art on the use of a machine that exploits a weakness in human vision in order to impart the illusion—not the reality—of motion and therefore of life. (p. 175)

I have never been able to definitely decide whether Bergman is, indeed, a consummate magician or merely a mountebank. I change my mind from film to film and even from sequence to sequence in the same film. He is a journalist—not quite a philosopher—of the guilty soul, and the necessity to probe the unconscious states of his characters leads him to a heavily symbolic, sometimes expressionistic, style in which he has created (a) some of the most...

(The entire section is 578 words.)