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Ingmar Bergman

By STEVE VINEBERG  |  July 31, 2007

Summer Interlude is about the passing of time — a mystifying topic for the young, a terrifying one for the old. Bergman, who almost made it to 90, depicted it from both ends of the spectrum, since it’s also the theme of Wild Strawberries. Fanny and Alexander has a death early on — of the title characters’ father — and is about how it shapes their childhood, so in a sense it’s situated at the end and at the beginning of life. That’s the movie I’d choose to watch again in tribute to Bergman and in gratitude for all he bequeathed to movies. The creative force at the heart of Strindberg’s A Dream Play, the playwright’s representative, is the Poet, who dreams the play, coming closer to understanding the beauty and tragedy of the human connection than ordinary men and women just because he is a poet. In Fanny and Alexander, the Poet Dreamer is the boy, Alexander (Bertil Guve), to whom Bergman entrusted with some of the details of his own childhood. How fitting that Bergman’s official farewell to movies turned out to be a paean to the theater he could never get out of his blood.

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