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Lang Thompson replies (tongue-in-cheek, I think),


> Well, his films are mostly humorless, superficial, psychologically
> implausible and tedious.  "Cries and Whispers" would be unintentionally
> funny if only it was paced faster, "Persona" is just silly and the fact
> that he was able to make and release his faith "trilogy" is proof in itself
> that there's no God.  And I don't remember a single car chase in any of his
> movies.

I'd agree with at least some of this (tongue-in-cheek or not), and such
criticism is hardly new.  Still . . .  For all his occasional triteness
and silliness, Bergman has the power of eliciting great performances
from actors, of creating startling images, of at least daring to try to
deal with issues deeper than whether Prof. Nasty has the code to the
Z-Bomb or whatever.  Even though it seems quite old-fashioned these
days, WILD STRAWBERRIES holds up pretty well, and THE PASSION OF ANNA,
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, and FANNY AND ALEXANDER still work well, for me
at least.  Like Griffith, he leaves images, sounds and scenes that
endure, whatever the "success" of the "message."

But all of this ventures on issues of taste, rather than any clear set
of aesthetic grounds.  There's virtually no great artist, of any medium
or genre, who is not subject to such dismissal.

Don Larsson
-----------------------------------------------------------
Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

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