Antonio Arvizu is direct; “I won’t praise Bergman in the classical way, I will simply acknowledge his work. We can’t include everything for obvious reasons, but what I do want to do is to touch upon key pieces of how Bergman is an invaluable transformer of the History of Cinema”. He says this in a full lecture room, something even he wasn’t expecting, to such a degree that in his impressions, he contemplated a few people.
Arvizu began to describe the influences of Bergman as subtle, never in the wedge. Victor Sjöström’s The Broken Springrose (1912) and The Outlaw and His Wife (1918) are proof of the thematic elements in his work: impossible love triangles, the feminine voice ahead of its time. Bergman’s first professional work was writing the film Torment. “Some experts mention that Bergman is better known as a writer than a director, even as a playwright”.
The other work that Arvizu highlights is in his feminine alter ego, which is highly questionable in modern times; “In Secrets of Women, we see Bergman self-referencing in his films, creating his usual alter egos, which is a mystery because we have never fully understood the reasoning behind his decision, especially if we consider that he was a manipulator as well as a genius”.
During this analysis, it’s curious to see Bergman quotes as much as he is quoted, always remaining aggressive in the themes he tackles, especially concerning his own psyche. Herbert Brenon’s Laugh Clown Laugh (1928) portrays a clown who is a victim of his own sad life, which Bergman portrays in a trustworthy way in Sunset of a Clown (1953), precluding the clown protagonist in the bloodiest way (curiously, this would also make way for his mania for the circus, which was an afront to writing style of theater toward the tendency of cinema, being more reflective with The Magician (1958) “the most misunderstood of Bergman’s works, by far”.
Through Arvizu we understand a Bergman outside the legend that surrounds him, maybe more aggressive than usual, something unusual for a director we understand to have been sensitive. The only comedy he ever made was with suicidal aspirations over a cancer scare, rejecting a sea of awards–which he obviously would accept with more obligation after the disavowal -and his final declaration of fatigue using the excuse of a home video of his son in which he touches upon everyday themes of a film that was never made.
And so, we come to understand the relationship between Bergman and other filmmakers, whom he often made uncomfortable and annoyed for not being the Bergman of his cinema, because Bergman in real life was there to enjoy and his cinema already said too much about him. “Bergman was a compulsive filmmaker, but, why? For distraction? Or to explore his capabilities as a filmmaker? The answer has never been clear and there’s no reason for it to be.