Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Silence & The Rite at The Castro

The Castro Theatre screened several Bergman classics over the past weeks. Last Tuesday I attended the double feature of The Silence & The Rite. 2 of Bergman's more challenging, films, no doubt about it! I had seen The Silence many years ago as a college student, & I remember being baffled by it & shocked by some of the acts put on the screen. This time around I think I got a bit more out of it. I didn't worry so much about trying to make it a cohesive narrative. Instead I tried to identify with the psychological states of the characters. It's fascinating to watch & still very modern.

Even if the story seems to make no sense at all, there is a lot of arresting imagery. Even from that 1st viewing many years ago, I had strong memories of certain images, such as the little boy staring up at a huge painting of a man attacking a naked woman, or the extended close-ups of upside or side-ways faces.

I had never seen the The Rite & in fact had never even heard of it before. It's a very strange, intensely intimate drama about a troupe of 3 dysfunctional actors & a law-enforcement official who appears to be persecuting or stalking them...I think. There are moments when it's not clear how much of it is supposed to be "real" at all. Maybe it's about Bergman's petty desire to humiliate his critics. The use of sex to express power relationships & to humiliate is a major theme in both movies.

Bergman has tough actors. In both movies the camera is often right in their faces. A Bergman actor has to stand up to a lot of scrutiny!

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