1 Aug 2007

Antonioni & Bergman: le temps retrouvé

What a sad news that surprises us all. Both were great film directors, and both died on the same day. Did they have a secret agreement on that? Their decease closes a chapter in the history of films, and it also marks the end of the golden age of Art Cinema.

It was when I was still a film student that I heard about Michaelangelo Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman. I still remember the first Antonioni film I saw was Blowup, and for Bergman was Persona. How interesting, both films are released in 1966. Blowup is Antonioni's first English film, and it is famous for its controversial theme and scenes that still draw the interest of modern film workers. Persona is what Bergman himself considered the most important film he ever made that actually saved his artistic life. Both masterpieces are regarded as the director's rep work.

Who would ever know that these little coincidences could lead to their decease on the same day!

Indeed, I do get this strange feeling when I read about their death. It feels like falling into a huge hollowness that sucks you in and drowns you. True that I don't know them personally, but I did have their films accompany me throughout my college days. They were always the topic we talked about. We always chose their works to write about. They seemed to be around our life all the time. That truly made you feel that you are so familiar with them. In fact, when we are so engaged with someone's works, we start to establish a special connection with them. This connection is a communication, is a dialogue between the screen and us; though it is only a one-way communication, it allowed us to get to know what the director wants to express, to know his/her ideas better. Therefore, after seeing their films, after trying to establish all different kinds of dialogues with their films, I felt that I had known them, that they were already a part of my life. I guess this is why I get such a horrible feeling after knowing their death.

A memory is something you have or something you have lost?! I guess it is both. Even though I still have my memory of both great directors, we have lost them forever. It is always possible to "retrouver", but all we can find now is only the memory.

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