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The Year of Bergman and Welles

Ingmar Bergman speaks to the cast of Hour of the Wolf (1968)

For all of 2018’s spectacular premieres (not for nothing does Vulture’s David Edelstein call the February opening of Black Panther a “momentous event in pop culture”) and raucous debates (Cannes vs. Netflix, T’Challa vs. Killmonger), the year in cinema has been dominated by two names: Ingmar Bergman and Orson Welles. All around the world, retrospectives, lectures, exhibitions, and, yes, big box sets have been rolling out in honor of Bergman’s one hundredth birthday. And following a run through the festival circuit, Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind, anticipated for four decades, finally arrives today in select theaters and on Netflix. So that’ll be where these notes on five highlights of the past week begin.

  • Two pieces on Welles stand out this week. At the A.V. Club, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky suggests that The Other Side of the Wind fits neatly into the oeuvre precisely because the question as to whether or not we can now consider the film truly complete is open to debate. “Among the great American movie directors,” he writes, “his body of work is the most famously incomplete, compromised, and meta.” The other piece may appeal more to hard-core Wellesians. At Wellesnet, Joseph McBride, the author of three books on the director, addresses the claim made by his friend, the renowned film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, that Oja Kodar, Welles’s partner and a star of the film, directed three sequences.
  • The Bergman retrospective in Toronto, currently running through December 23, is complemented by a series of terrific articles appearing in the TIFF Review. TIFF Cinematheque programmer James Quandt has put together an “A–Z of Ingmar Bergman,” while outgoing festival director Piers Handling writes about Bergman’s most famous collaborator, Liv Ullmann. Azadeh Jafari has been profiling some of Bergman’s other muses, including Harriet Andersson,Ingrid Thulin,Eva Dahlbeck, and Bibi Andersson.Michael Sicinski weighs Bergman’s influence on Andrei Tarkovsky. And graphic designer Craig Caron has put together a fascinating two-part history of how Bergman was introduced to U.S. audiences and transformed into something like a brand.

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