Ingmar Bergman, Godfather of Horror

From: Nick Faust, Evansville, IN

Thank-you for your touching tribute to Ingmar Bergman. Though I was not surprised by the news, it still startled me. The films he made are like old friends; I visit them often and try, whenever possible, to interest others in them.

A few years ago I made a video feature in Evansville, Indiana. Most of the people working on the film were half my age. "Hour of the Wolf" inspired some of my approach, so I made them all watch it. Right off the bat, when Liv Ullman does that long speech to the camera, this crew seemed restless and uninterested. But somewhere along the line, the film grabbed them. Ingmar Bergman reached into my Evansville, Indiana living room and wrestled these kids to the ground. It was amazing! If I recall correctly, they debated forever over the scene where Max is attacked then kills the little boy! After that night, more Bergman was requested, and I obliged.

Jason Matherne, my DP and a film maker from New Orleans who makes unruly and despicable (but funny) gore movies, showed me his new film, "Goregasm," recently. While we were watching, he continually pointed out shots and lighting effects that he attributed to "Hour of the Wolf," "Fanny and Alexander," and "Shame"! As it turns out, he bought most of the Bergman DVDs and, indeed, studies them. So Woody Allen isn't the only one inspired by these films; a twenty-five year old goth boy with a Canon XL1 is inspired to reach beyond himself, too.

And that's one of the first things I thought about when I learned that Bergman had died.

As a director myself I marvel at the way Bergman shows us his action, the way he frames it and uses the edges of the frame; am always riveted by the extremes exhibited by his actors; am fascinated by how he holds attention with long scenes where characters talk. Am in awe over how he's able to bridge surreal dream moments with instances of stark reality, and the matter of fact way he will show the fantastic. Most of all, Bergman's utter simplicity inspires me. Some of his most startling ideas and moments are conveyed with the simplest shot, pan of the camera, or cut.

At any rate, I share this now because your tribute so eloquently put into words things that I feel. Movies truly matter, and the world was made a different place because Ingmar Bergman made movies.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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