Opening scene of “The Seventh Seal” (1957)
Now that Ingmar Bergman is dead, I am all the more grateful that those Chinese DVD pirates didn't restrict their bootlegging to the usual suspects, i.e., Van Damme, Stallone and Mel Gibson, but included in their booty much of the world's best cinema, including Mr. Bergman's films. Except for the 5-disc Criterion Collection edition of “Fanny and Alexander” which I burned from an original copy, the other 12 Bergman titles I have are all courtesy of Makati Cinema Square. So far I've only seen three--“The Seventh Seal,” “Wild Strawberries” and “Persona,” plus the extensive special features on the "Fanny and Alexander” box set (best extra: footage of Mr. Bergman introducing 11 of his films). His death yesterday at 89 will no doubt spark renewed interest in and retrospectives of his work. I'll begin my own by slogging through the five-hour television version of “Fanny and Alexander,” then his early efforts like “To Joy,” with gulps of hot tea in between to ward off the Nordic chill.