Film, at its most fundamental level, is a reflection of the human condition, a slice of real life that has been altered and contorted according to the perspective of the filmmaker, showcasing their philosophy, perspective, and world view. In the work of no major director is this perhaps more true than in regards to the inimitable Ingmar Bergman, whose every film is a nontraditional delving into personal philosophy, how that philosophy shapes his aesthetic, and how in turn it shapes too the audience.
You don’t watch a Bergman film, you experience it, and you aren’t affected by it, you are changed. Identity, individualism, intimacy, emotional isolation, death – these are but a few of the facets that factor into Bergman’s philosophy and thus his films, which can make them “difficult” to follow, though the word there should be “uncomfortable,” because in watching a Bergman film we are relating, if not to the characters or the scenarios, then to the themes, the philosophy, and that can make for an unnerving investigation into ourselves and our being.
In the latest video essay from Luisa Liz’s Art Regard, the philosophical sensibility of Ingmar Bergman’s work and how he technically conveys this through lighting, framing, and shot selection et cetera is the focus, and the result is an erudite and intriguing exploration of Bergman’s cinematic mind, the one that clarifies and abstracts seemingly simultaneously, the one that never stops going deeper beneath the surface of human interaction, and the one that continues to inspire art over entertainment in filmmaking generation after generation. This is some heady stuff here, but once again Liz comes through with a concise and informed voice that cuts right to the heart of the matter. Bergman scholars, fans, and even the uninitiated can benefit from setting aside the seven minutes it takes to watch this one.