Bergman on Weird Movies

When I first got the idea for this blog, the two movies that stood out to me as totally necessary for discussion were Persona and Cries and Whispers. Then I read this—which is an excerpt from Bergman’s Images memoir—on Flavorwire this morning and figured it’d be a good first post as I try to build up a decent cache of posts,

“If I had not found the strength to make that film, I would probably have been all washed up. One significant point: for the first time I did not care in the least whether the result would be a commercial success. Today I feel that in Persona — and later in Cries and Whispers — I had gone as far as I could go. And that in these two instances when working in total freedom, I touched wordless secrets that only the cinema can discover.”

The film about two women who appear to exchange identities reflected Bergman’s “problems, absurdities, and impossibilities of art” during a difficult time in his life:

Persona is a creation that saved its creator. Before making it, I was ill, having twice had pneumonia and antibiotic poisoning… I remember sitting in my hospital bed, looking directly in front of me at a black spot — because if I turned my head at all, the whole room began to spin. I thought to myself that I would never create anything anymore; I was completely empty, almost dead. The montage at the beginning of the film is just a poem about that personal situation. Because whenever I thought about making a new film, silly pictures from my old ones came into my head. Suddenly, one day I started thinking of two women sitting next to each other and comparing hands. This was a single scene, which, after an enormous effort, I was able to write down.”