Honest Fandom: Our Review of ‘Searching For Ingmar Bergman’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - December 08, 2018
Honest Fandom: Our Review of ‘Searching For Ingmar Bergman’

Sometimes greatness has to be examined by greatness…

Searching For Ingmar Bergman is quite simply a film fan’s wet dream as some of the very best to ever step behind the lens of a camera take a look at the impact of the man on not only their own works but on modern film as well.

On the 100th anniversary of his birth, internationally renowned director Margarethe von Trotta examines Ingmar Bergman’s life and work with a circle of his closest collaborators as well as a new generation of filmmakers. This documentary presents key components of his legacy, as it retraces themes that recurred in his life and art and takes us to the places that were central to Bergman’s creative achievements.

Quite simply, Searching For Ingmar Bergman is the kind of film that any self respecting devotee of the modern cinema would simply want to gaze up at while soaking in some firsthand intimate stories from one of the greatest filmmakers to ever walk the earth.

Margarethe von Trotta serves as director and host for this jaunt across cinematic history and she makes for a good one because even though the film does admittedly get pretty gushy at moments it really makes an effort to give Ingmar Bergman as complete of an examination as they possibly can.  Sitting down with luminaries like Liv Ullmann and Stig Bjorkman as well as current contemporaries like Ruben Ostlund and Oliver Assayas; von Trotta serves as an effective guide as most of these conversations really play like something between two old friends and it’s kind of a delight to behold.  Even though Bergman himself was a noted egotist and terribly self-involved in his own right, it actually comes across as part of his charm, which is why it played so effectively well in so many of his movies.

There’s no real structure to the film as von Trotta tends to jump around his oeuvre pretty freely in a non linear way, but I can’t help but feel like that was by design.  This wasn’t a super critical examination of the man’s work, this was fans, collaborators and even his family members basically talking in awe of the amazing work that he put together.  It’s not a ‘Cahier du Cinema’ kind of exercise, in this film it’s a personal experience.

Ultimately that’s why Searching For Ingmar Bergman has such natural charm to it.  It’s trying to educate the masses and celebrate the artist himself at the same time, which is what will ultimately draw people into this film but into the oeuvre of Bergman himself.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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