Friday 30 June 2017

My new 10 favourite films

Persona by Ingmar Bergman 
The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman 
Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder 
Nights of Cabiria by Federico Fellini 
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring by Kim Ki-duk 
Ran by Akira Kurosawa 
Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese
The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola
Casablanca by Michael Curtis 
The Silence of the Lambs by Jonathan Demme 

(replaced 1 film on the list on 17/6/2017) 

Some remarks on cinema; and 2 video essays on Akira Kurosawa

For quite some time, I’ve been intending to write about many self-proclaimed cinephiles and film students’ ignorance of many masters such as Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Andrei Tarkovsky, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luis Bunuel, Akira Kurosawa…*, and their contemptuous disregard for the legacy of cinema. Related to it would be, on the 1 hand, the fallacious argument that art is subjective and it all comes down to taste (as I said “Ingmar Bergman’s 1 of the masters of cinema”, a friend and classmate of mine said “So is Joss Whedon”), and on the other hand, the charges of elitism or pretentiousness against anyone who takes cinema seriously and likes classic films and/or arthouse films.
Ignorance is fine (I, for example, have no knowledge of silent films apart from Charlie Chaplin). It’s a lack of desire to know that is problematic. Most harmful is philistinism and anti-intellectualism—there is no cure.
However, I’m not going to bother. It’s their problem if they stay in their comfort zone and limit themselves (watch only new films, colour films or English-language films, etc.) and don’t know what they’re missing out on. As in literature, it’s not worth an effort. I’m just going to continue what I’m doing, and explore more great directors.

Here are 2 brilliant video essays I found on the art of Akira Kurosawa (I’ve seen Ran, Rashomon, Dreams, Ikiru and The Bad Sleep Well; am watching Stray Dog).

Akira Kurosawa - Composing Movement from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) - The Geometry of a Scene from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

Note to self, after watching The Bad Sleep Well (a perfect film): try the axial cut.

*: Some film students not only haven’t watched them, but haven’t even heard of them.

Thursday 29 June 2017

Wild Strawberries and Ingmar Bergman's concern with love (or the inability to love)

In a discussion a short while ago, my friend Himadri called Wild Strawberries Ingmar Bergman’s Christmas Carol.
Look at this passage from Harvey R. Greenberg’s essay “The Rags of Time” (Ingmar Bergman: Essays in Criticism, edited by Stuart M. Kaminsky with Joseph F. Hill):
“… A lesser artist would have cast Borg in the likeness of Scrooge, waking from troubled dreams to spread good cheer until the end of his days. But Borg is an ancient man with an extremely rigid character. Miss Agda and Evald, though they have been hurt by him, believe nothing else possible at his hands; they are actually as inflexible after their own fashion as he. Brilliantly, Bergman portrays the rejection of Borg’s tentative efforts to soften his behavior towards the old housekeeper and the stinging rebuff he receives from Evald, so much his father’s son. People such as these do not give up their defenses with such facility. And Borg’s self-description in the opening scene is written after this memorable day has passed; the mask he turns to the world would not seem to have altered that significantly.”
Whilst seeing some similarities between Wild Strawberries and A Christmas Carol, I agree with this view—the spiritual journey in Ingmar Bergman’s film (as opposed to the physical journey) doesn’t quite lead to any real transformation; it’s about self-understanding and understanding of people close to him, resulting in a slightly changed outlook but no significant change in person. The film is no parable, nor fairy tale. At that age, people don’t change; Isak Borg can’t be like the protagonist in Kurosawa’s Ikiru. For years, he has been living like a dead man, all of a sudden he’s shocked by Marianne’s admission of her dislike of him, into re-examining his whole life, and through memories and dreams, comes to see his own egotism, rigidity and coldness, and to realise that whilst he has been successful in his career, he has failed in his private life. What makes Wild Strawberries a life-affirming film rather than a cold dissection of a man’s personal failures and his loneliness, is Marianne—the life of the film. She has feeling, she has love, she chooses life—she has seen coldness from Borg’s old mother going down to Borg and then her husband Evald, but somewhere it must end, and she will end it. 
Now, after many films, I’ve concluded that Ingmar Bergman’s main concern, even in the films that thematically deal with the question of God, is sympathy and love, or rather, selfishness and the inability to love and see beyond oneself. Through a Glass Darkly isn’t about God and the vision of God as a giant spider, as much as it’s about a woman’s struggle with schizophrenia, her inability to respond to the love of her husband, and her cold, distant father’s use of her mental disorder as material for his novel. Winter Light deals with faith, but placed at the centre of the film is a cold pastor who can even be unnecessarily harsh and cruel. As Roger Ebert put it:
“There is more silence here than the silence of God. Tomas' late wife is wrapped in the silence of the grave. Tomas is silent to the need of the fisherman. He cannot respond to Marta's love except by stern silence and rejection. Fredrik, the church organist, is silent in the way he pays no attention to the service and wishes for it to be over. Those who are not silent, such as the fisherman and his wife, ask for help and receive none.
But then there is Algot, the crooked sexton. He alone of all these people seems to have given more thought to the suffering of Christ than to his own suffering. His insights into Christ's passion are convincing and empathetic, but the pastor cannot hear him, is wrapped in his own cold indifference.” 
Even The Seventh Seal is not really about the existence of a God. 1 of the 1st images we associate with the film may be the knight playing chess with Death, but Antonius Block isn’t the centre or the only important character of the film. The Seventh Seal must be understood by placing him next to his squire Jons and Jof the actor, both of whom live instead of wasting time searching for answers. Ingmar Bergman’s view is most manifest in the character of Jons, who appears realistic and sceptical, even mocking and cynical, and doesn’t bother himself with metaphysical questions, but throughout the story, we see him act and help others. His actions make Antonius Block’s questions meaningless. The knight’s too wrapped up in himself, till the end. 
I think Ingmar Bergman’s the greatest of filmmakers, because of his mastery of techniques and understanding of human beings, and more importantly, because of his vision and humanity. 

I forgot to mention that I am now back in Oslo for the summer :D 

Friday 23 June 2017

Hour of the Wolf

1/ Wikipedia says Hour of the Wolf is part of a trilogy with Shame and The Passion of Anna. I see it as a companion-piece to Persona
2/ At the centre of Persona is Elisabet, an actress who casts off her role as a wife and as a mother, withdraws into herself and refuses to speak. In Hour of the Wolf, there is also an artist—Johan Borg is a painter who lives on a remote island and struggles with his own demons. In Persona, Elisabet slowly takes over Alma, her nurse—the 2 women merge into 1. In Hour of the Wolf, Johan slowly loses grasp of reality, becoming more and more insane, and after a while his loving wife Alma also starts to see his demons.   
3/ Both films remind us they’re a film: Persona starts with a film projector and a series of images like cartoons and silent films; Hour of the Wolf starts with the voice of Ingmar Bergman, over the opening credits, giving instructions to his crew. However, Hour of the Wolf creates the illusion of a real story by stating that it’s based on Johan’s diary and his wife’s account of what happened. Then Alma speaks to the camera as though telling the story to a documentary filmmaker. 
4/ Robin Wood points out, in his essay “The World Without, the World Within”: 
“… In view of his often expressed admiration for Fellini the film’s close relationship in subject, structure and method to Giulietta degli Spiriti is perhaps not surprising, any more than is its complementary self-sufficiency (Bergman clearly needn’t fear accusations of plagiarism). What is surprising is Bergman’s use of the traditions of the American horror film, from Whale and Browning to Hitchcock. Not only does the Birdman (as Tom Milne has pointed out) bear an unmistakable resemblance to Lugosi’s Dracula, but the face of Baron von Merkens, especially when photographed from below, as at the dinner party, distinctly recalls in its contours Karloff’s original Frankenstein creation. The minuscule but apparently human Tamino in the Birdman’s ‘Magic Flute’ performance recalls Ernest Thesiger’s homunculi in The Bride of Frankenstein. The general framework, with an outsider being initiated into a close-knit, isolated and highly abnormal society, and especially the ending, where in the darkness and mud its members hideously exact a communal vengeance, suggest Freaks. The old woman who peels off her face to reveal a decomposing skull and gaping eye-sockets evokes at once the 2 Wax Museum films and Mrs Bates in Psycho. The pecking and jabbing Birdman suggests both Psycho and The Birds, and the shot of von Sydow passing through a corridor thick with sparrows and other wild birds looks like overt reference (hesitate as one is to associate such seemingly incompatible directors). There are further more generalized references: the castle interiors, for instance, especially in the later sequences, are strongly reminiscent of Hollywood Gothic, from Whale to Corman; the ‘cannibal’ family suggests vampires, particularly in the way the lips of the father-figure’s huge mouth draw back, and there is a reference to their ‘fangs’ during the nightmarishly edgy and disquieting dinner-table conversations.” 
5/ Hour of the Wolf can also be seen as a companion-piece to Through a Glass Darkly, in which it’s not a male character but a female character who struggles with mental illness—Karin, played by Harriet Andersson, has schizophrenia. The sane, loving and patient husband in the film is played by Max von Sydow, who in Hour of the Wolf sees demons and can’t distinguish between reality and hallucinations. In both films, the loving spouse can do nothing to help. 
6/ Robin Wood argues: 
“Some have seen those demons as representing the artist’s imaginative creations over which, Frankenstein-like, he loses control; or as the side of his personality out of which his art develops. Nothing could be further from the truth. The point is made quite unequivocally that the demons are inimical to artistic creation—their emergence in the 1st stretches of the film corresponds to a decline in Johan’s art. What is more, their destruction of him as an artist is closely paralleled by their destruction of his marriage relationship.” 
7/ In a section about Wild Strawberries in the essay “Sexual Themes in the Films of Ingmar Bergman”, Richard A. Blake, S. J. writes: 
“[In a dream], [Isak Borg] is asked to examine a woman whom he pronounces dead. With that she opens her eyes and laughs derisively in his face. He has so drawn away from woman, from the source of life, that he has lost his ability even to distinguish life from death…” 
There’s a similar scene in Hour of the Wolf—Johan walks to the naked corpse of his former lover Veronica Vogler and touches her body, then she wakes up and laughs in his face. Does it happen? Do the people in the castle even exist? That doesn’t matter. The point is the humiliation, as in Wild Strawberries. However, if in Wild Strawberries, it only shows that Isak Borg, despite his career success, is a failure as a person, and little more than a dead man, in Hour of the Wolf, the scene culminates in Johan’s ultimate humiliation—everything is shattered, and Johan now knows he cannot defeat the destructive forces within him. He must surrender.

Robin Wood on the opening sequence of Persona

How do you interpret the opening and closing sequence of Persona? And the fact that in the middle of the film, the frame freezes, cracks and burns?
Persona is a film that constantly reminds the audience that it’s a film. Also, as I wrote in the earlier post, through Elisabet Vogler, Ingmar Bergman expresses his own concerns and anguish as an artist, and his inability to respond authentically to large catastrophes.
I’m currently reading Ingmar Bergman: Essays in Criticism, edited by Stuart M. Kaminsky with Joseph F. Hill, and here’s another interpretation, in Robin Wood’s essay “The World Without, the World Within”:
“… Bergman himself acknowledges the crudeness of art beside the complexities of existence in the film’s very 1st images. After the film projector shots, we see a silent cartoon of a fat woman in a bathing costume washing her hands, framed as on a screen; the cartoon flickers jerkily, breaks down, starts up again. Bergman then cuts in a shot of real hands washing themselves, the image now filling the whole screen (i.e. the cartoon is shown as a film, the hands as reality). A way, surely, of admitting, at the outset of 1 of the most complex films ever made, that, beside reality, art is as crude as the jerky movements of the cartoon beside of the flexible, organic motions of the real hands?

More than this, the breakdown constitutes Bergman’s admission that he can’t resolve the problems the film has raised. The last 3rd of Persona gives us a series of scenes of uncertain reality and uncertain chronology; all are closely related, thematically, to the concerns established earlier in the film, and all carry us deeper into the sensation of breakdown due to full exposure to the unresolvable or unendurable. They come across as a series of tentative sketches, which are from tentative in realization, of possibilities offered by the director who, because of his own uncertainties, denies himself the narrative artist’s right to dogmatize, to say ‘This is what happened next.’ Given the universal implications of the subject matter, the fact that we can no longer think in simple terms about ‘Alma and Elizabeth’ (despite the fact that the characters keep their fictional identities to the end) compels us to feel what we are shown with unusual immediacy, as if naked experience were being communicated direct, instead of being clothed with the customary medium of characters-and-narrative. It is not a question of vagueness nor of artistic abdication, but of an extreme and rigorous honesty; each sequence is realized with the same intensity and precision that characterized the straight narrative of the 1st half…”

Wednesday 21 June 2017

You, the Living and Roy Andersson

It’s the same for everybody—once in a while there’s a highly acclaimed film that you think is mere rubbish. I think The Tree of Life is all style and no substance. I think Boyhood is no good and would not have got much attention if the film hadn’t been filmed over a course of 12 years. I think Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is weird, pointless, nonsensical for the sake of being strange and obscure. Etc. Etc. 

After Songs from the Second Floor, I’ve just watched You, the Living, another film by Roy Andersson, 1 of today’s most acclaimed Swedish directors. I now know his style. Almost no camera movement—in Songs from the Second Floor, the 1st time is when the camera’s in a moving car that is stuck in traffic jam, and the 2nd time is when the camera tracks a man walking at a train station (did I miss anything?). Almost all shots are wide shots. In a scene, the camera stays in exactly 1 place*, showing the entire place and all the people in it, generally looking towards or at the camera—no camera movement, no other angle, no close-up, no shot of what a character is looking at. It feels like watching theatre. Then another scene, again with the camera staying in 1 place. Then another scene. Then another scene. Consistent throughout the film. In You, the Living, each time there’s a new scene, we see new characters. According to Wikipedia, the film is a succession of 50 short sketches.
It feels like the director imposed constraints on himself in order to have a style.
Frankly I think his films are interesting only in that he makes films unlike anyone else; the films in themselves are not interesting. Because of the consistent stationary camera and invariable camera angles, his films lack a kind of rhythm that would make them absorbing. Sometimes there’s too much repetitiveness, and Roy Andersson goes for a tragicomic undertone and likes to employ deadpan humour but sometimes a joke carries on for so long that it’s no longer amusing. The film gets tiresome after a while.
More importantly, there’s a lack of real drama. I see that he depicts a surreal world that reflects modern society’s problems. I see that he wants to make a point about life (the 2 films are part of the Living trilogy). There are a few funny moments, and a few moments that make you think, but generally most individual scenes are not compelling, and they don’t build to anything.
Shall I watch the last film in the Living trilogy? Probably not. I’ve seen enough.

*: An exception in You, the Living is the scene of the moving house, made up of 2 shots from opposite directions.


Note on the blog: You probably have noticed that my blog is now turning into a film blog. Looks like it’s a film blog now. For a while I’ve been planning a Life and Fate read-along for June, and have started reading it, but somehow couldn’t quite get into it, and these days I’m focusing on films, so I don’t know what’s happening but for now the read-along is delayed. My apologies.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

The best 10 films of every decade from the 1940s to 2000s- new list

My choice. 
Why? Because I love lists. 

- The 40s:
The Great Dictator (1940)
Casablanca (1942)
Gaslight (1944)
Brief Encounter (1945)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Killers (1946)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Heiress (1949)

- The 50s:
All about Eve (1950)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) 
12 Angry Men (1957)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Wild Strawberries (1957)
The Seventh Seal (1957) 
Vertigo (1958)

- The 60s:
The Apartment (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Winter Light (1963) 
8 ½ (1963)
The Woman in the Dunes (1964) 
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Persona (1966)
Blowup (1966)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

- The 70s:
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
Cries and Whispers (1972) 
The Godfather (1972)
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974) 
The Conversation (1974)
Chinatown (1974) 
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Annie Hall (1977)

- The 80s:
Raging Bull (1980)
On Golden Pond (1981)
Sophie's Choice (1982) 
Ran (1985)
Rain Man (1988)
The Accused (1988)
My Left Foot (1989)
Monsieur Hire (1989)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Dekalog (1989) 

- The 90s:
Goodfellas (1990)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Three Colours: Blue (1993) 
To Live (1994)
Pulp Fiction (1994) 
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 
Happy Together (1997)
Festen (1998) 

- The 2000s:
Memento (2000)
The Pianist (2002)
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
2046 (2004)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Babel (2006) 
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2007)

Sunday 18 June 2017

Songs from the Second Floor

Roy Andersson is 1 of today’s most acclaimed Swedish directors. I’ve just watched Sånger från andra våningen, or Songs from the Second Floor
This is 1 of the most boring films I’ve ever seen—dreary and tedious with only a few moments of absurd humour. The long takes. The invariability of camera angles and shot sizes. The lack of camera movement. The “consistent” slowness. The lack of some kind of rhythm. The repetitiveness. The dry and bleak view. The black comedy that can be amusing at the beginning but becomes tiresome after a while. The incoherence.
The film is not devoid of ideas, it simply lacks the power to captivate.
It’s amusing that the man who made Sånger från andra våningen calls Ingmar Bergman a boring hack*
Maybe I’d like another of Andersson’s film.

*: This is something I wouldn’t even bother to refute. Ingmar Bergman’s genius speaks for itself.  

Friday 16 June 2017

Ingmar Bergman's Persona

I’ve just watched Persona, making it the 12th Ingmar Bergman film I’ve seen (after Autumn Sonata, The Silence, All These Women, Cries and Whispers, Wild Strawberries, Summer with Monika, Smiles of a Summer Night, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Seventh Seal—in that order). And it’s the most difficult.

Some critic has said, if Wild Strawberries is the most plagiarised Ingmar Bergman film and The Seventh Seal is the most parodied, Persona is the one most written about. It’s a rich, complex and ambiguous film with multiple layers that can be interpreted in lots of different ways.
The most discernible meaning is that, like Through a Glass Darkly, Persona seems to reflect the director’s own concerns and anguish as an artist. In Through a Glass Darkly, the writer uses the personal experience of someone close to him (his own daughter) for his art. In Persona, Elisabet, an actress, feels like, as an artist, she can’t respond authentically to large tragedies like the Vietnam War or the Holocaust. Her art is helpless.
At the same time, everything seems false—Elisabet’s acting even when she’s not acting. Her being a wife and then a mother is just a persona; she’s tired; her refusal to speak is her way of discarding it all.
(It’s interesting to note that the only thing that can make her talk is fear, when Alma threatens to throw boiling water at her—like fear is the only real feeling left, the only trace of vitality in Elisabet).
That’s the most obvious meaning. How do you understand the film as a whole? 1 interpretation is literal—as we see in the film, Elisabet is silent and her nurse Alma does all the talking, then slowly she talks for Elisabet and starts to imagine herself as her. Alma is weak. When she lets her patient get hurt by the broken glass and later hits her, she allows anger, resentment and the sense of betrayal take over her and reveal her weakness—she abandons the discipline of her profession. Then she lets Elisabet take over her being, even when she tries to assert her own separate identity. The 2 merge into 1.

Another interpretation is that the 2 are the same person—Elisabet is the external person and Alma is the inner turmoil, the self-conflict and self-loathing, the 2 of them making up the persona (Alma in Spanish means soul). At the beginning of the film, we see the images of them blending and morphing into each other. Near the end, their faces are merged. Elisabet studying Alma is her looking inward and examining her own life, her own dreams and longings, her own fears, her own selfishness, hypocrisy and cruelty. Alma’s story of the abortion is a denial, a way of hiding from the truth that she (Elisabet, the external person) has a son.
Both interpretations make sense. 
But then what do you think about the ending? Why is it that we see Elisabet packing but afterwards only Alma gets on the bus, apparently carrying the same suitcase? What’s up with the creepy giant sculpture at the end? What do you make of the opening sequence of Persona
I perhaps would never completely understand it, but this is a wonderful film.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

On discovering Ingmar Bergman

I don’t know how to write about Ingmar Bergman.
There are good directors, there are great directors, and above them are the masters, the maestros, the visionaries. A few years ago I discovered Federico Fellini, for example. I had always loved films, but it was 8 ½ that made me truly realise the power of the medium and what a film could do, and forever changed my view on cinema.
Now I’ve found Ingmar Bergman.

This is a true artist, who deals with metaphysical questions, relationships, emotions, and human consciousness. He’s serious, very serious, without being solemn or lacking humour; he explores resentment, hatred, selfishness, anguish and despair without lacking compassion and humanity. My favourite Wild Strawberries is about a professor’s road trip, mixed with memories and dreams, during which he thinks about his career and relationships and reflects on his whole life. There were some failures, some resentments and regrets, but the trip helps him understand his daughter-in-law, who earlier finds him egotistical and cold, and understand himself, bringing them closer to each other. Ending with acceptance and a peaceful dream, it’s a compassionate and uplifting film. The most interesting part is that Wild Strawberries doesn’t employ the conventional flashbacks; instead, we see the old professor walking into his memories and watching (even seeing things his younger self couldn’t have seen), which Woody Allen copied. As Ingmar Bergman himself put it, “So it struck me — what if you could make a film about this; that you just walk up in a realistic way and open a door, and then you walk into your childhood, and then you open another door and come back to reality, and then you make a turn around a street corner and arrive in some other period of your existence, and everything goes on, lives.” That is the idea behind Wild Strawberries.

Another favourite of mine is The Seventh Seal. The film tends to be associated with the iconic image of a medieval knight playing chess with Death, but it’s not really about the game, nor Death. It’s not even about God and religion. The Seventh Seal is about Antonius Block’s quest for meaning and his search for answers, not only answers to the questions he does ask, about God, the devil, knowledge and a sense of purpose, but also the meaning of everything—the plague, people’s extreme behaviours and the meaning of life. He prays, he talks to a priest, he joins the crusades, he reaches out to anyone who may know, from Death to the woman accused of being a witch and causing the plague, he looks for something certain and definite, he yearns for knowledge and wants to do a meaningful deed. In the end, the knight gets no answer, as there is none, but he finds meaning—he creates it himself. Is Antonius Block comfortable with dying at last? I don’t know. But I know, and he knows, that if he loses to Death in the chess game, he wins somewhere else.
Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light are also great films. Both touch on the theme of God’s silence, the question haunting Ingmar Bergman, who was brought up in a religious household with his father as a Lutheran minister. Winter Light is in a way a response to Through a Glass Darkly—a quote from the earlier film, about love as proof of God’s existence, is repeated, word-by-word, and mocked in the later film. However, these films are so deeply affecting to someone like me, not brought up religious and never really bothered about a higher power, because they’re not about God’s indifference or nonexistence as much as about the coldness of human beings, embodied by a character in both films portrayed by Gunnar Björnstrand, and people’s inability to love, to connect to each other and to say something truly meaningful.
In Through a Glass Darkly, there’s a scene in which the writer talks to his son-in-law about his suicide attempt, but what we see is not the suicide attempt and his actions then, but the man’s face as he recalls and tells the story and the son-in-law face as he listens to it for the 1st time. Ingmar Bergman stays on the characters’ faces when another director might change to another image for fear of boring the audience. He’s especially interested in the study of the human face. He constantly uses close-ups. He sometimes juxtaposes faces on the screen to show characters talking without facing each other, conveying the feeling of loneliness or incommunicability. He sometimes lets a character look straight into the lens, and thus, directly at the audience.

His films are profound and thought-provoking. At the same time, Ingmar Bergman also shows what cinema could do and achieve. Before, I thought his films were just full of talk like plays, with nothing remarkable in visuals like Woody Allen’s films. I was wrong. His films are visually stunning, with lots of striking images such as the dream sequence with the handless clock in Wild Strawberries, Death’s appearance and the knight playing chess with him in The Seventh Seal, the king uprooting a tree and preparing for vengeance in The Virgin Spring, a woman mutilating herself and smearing her face with blood in Cries and Whispers, and so on. Ingmar Bergman didn’t merely tell stories and depict actions and relationships; he explored the inner life and human consciousness whilst playing with the visual medium and testing the possibilities of cinema.
Having discovered Ingmar Bergman, I’m now no longer the same.

A trip back to Victorian times

Abbey House Museum, Leeds. 
Photos taken by me. 

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Friday 9 June 2017

Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage Museum

It's my birthday on Sunday (11/6), so my boyfriend and I just had a wonderful early birthday trip to Haworth and visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum. 
The house of the Brontes: 
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The scenery:
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Lovely lovely trip. 
Some day I'll visit the Jane Austen museum.