Bergman – Seeing is Unbelieving

You know what? There are plenty of better, thorough-er obits of Ingmar that’ve come or are coming…where’s Woody Alan on this by the way, or Sven Noquist?

But a personal appreciation….the best thing I can say for Bergman is that his films make me proud to be agnostic…which doubtless sounds a little weird. But there aren’t to many moments in the culture where doubt as such is celebrated, explored, etc. as it is in Bergman. In particular I am referring to the trilogy of Winter Light/Through a Glass Darkly/The Silence, of course. But his larger oeuvre moves beyond just the doubt of God, into an even harder set of relationship-based issues. The perils of believing in and practicing love without a buttressing, theistic cosmology…well that’s some serious stuff, people (some would call it “modernity.”)  Bergman’s movies always probe this dilemma, in a manner that I frankly prefer to all of the canonical existentialist writing on the matter (there, I said it.)

The reasons I doubt the existence of God have nothing to do with thinking that faith is stupid or empirically untenable or all that; therefore I take comfort (and feel halfway not alone) from Bergman’s approaches to mysteries of faith and doubt. His films show that faith and disbelief aren’t really mutually exclusive…actually, they aren’t even choices we get to make or stick to consistently.  Belief and doubt are as impossible as they are inescapable, and we could call that quagmire “horrible” if we weren’t
Already calling it “life.” Thank you, Ingmar. My Da showed me the Seventh Seal really young, but it’s the religious trilogy and Persona and all the ones I haven’t even seen that’ll keep me sipping from the, uh, trough.

Oh, and thanks for Woody Allen, too. Have we all seen Interiors? As far as I know it’s the best non-Bergman Bergman ever.

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2 Responses to “Bergman – Seeing is Unbelieving”

  1. andrew Says:

    Interiors, indeed.

  2. minx Says:

    I always get Ingmar and Ingrid confused, man.


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