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Forgot to give a heads up for The Magician yesterday.


slaytonf
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Hope it's not too late.  As part of Max von Sydow day, TCM has culled from the dusty basement shelves a little-known, and little shown Ingmar Bergman film.  Packed with familiar faces from his repertory company of actors (most gratifyingly Ingrid Thulin), it also sports his familiar themes of tortured introspection, lacerating dissections of family and intimate friends of each other, humiliating public exposures of character weaknesses and hypocrisy, and reckless and futile striving for even the smallest amount of dignity in a bleak and ghastly existence.  Everything to delight the Bergman fan.  But don't be too sure of yourself. . . if everything in life is false and hollow, then even bleakness is.

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Hope it's not too late.  As part of Max von Sydow day, TCM has culled from the dusty basement shelves a little-known, and little shown Ingmar Bergman film.  Packed with familiar faces from his repertory company of actors (most gratifyingly Ingrid Thulin), it also sports his familiar themes of tortured introspection, lacerating dissections of family and intimate friends of each other, humiliating public exposures of character weaknesses and hypocrisy, and reckless and futile striving for even the smallest amount of dignity in a bleak and ghastly existence.  Everything to delight the Bergman fan.  But don't be too sure of yourself. . . if everything in life is false and hollow, then even bleakness is.

 

After all that, I'm not sure I need to see it. I feel I've already got it. But since I'm a devoted fan of bleakness, I'll have to catch it next time. I will hope to dash off a few words about it here ... if I don't commit suicide first.

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my recording got messed up (Again) due to Direct TV & RAIN!! :angry:

 

I go through the same thing, but have gotten to the point where I am able to put it on the backburner and wait for it to play again as there are plenty of other movies.  I chalk those types of losses (on otherwise reliable DirecTV) up to no more waiting around the house all week, during business hours, just for a cable TV "truck roll". :lol:

I know, not related, but we had enough of their circa 2004/2005 banged up DVRs in 2013.  Time for another "truck roll?"  Oh wait, here he comes now.  He's pulling in the drive with a new stack of 7-8-year-old units, don't know where they've been.  He doesn't either.  We'll go through them one at a time again till we find a working one, just like last time...

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After all that, I'm not sure I need to see it. I feel I've already got it. But since I'm a devoted fan of bleakness, I'll have to catch it next time. I will hope to dash off a few words about it here ... if I don't commit suicide first.

 

Oh no, you must see this.  It may not be one of his great ones, but I personally like it as much as any of his, even Wild Strawberries.  Remember, if everything in life is absurd and meaningless, then so is despair and bleakness.

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I watched The Magician tonight for the first time. Like a lot of Ingmar Bergman's work, it's too complex to just say whether I like it or not. At least after just one viewing.

I don't think it's as bleak and hopeless as slayton suggests. Not that it's a fun-filled laugh-fest or anything, but it does have a sort-of happy ending ( in a cautious, Begmanesque way), and there are several scenes that actually are kind of funny.

 

I certainly wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't already familiar with Bergman's style and approach to filmmaking - if it didn't scare them away, it would probably bore them to sleep. I did not think it was boring, in fact, after I got used to it, I thought it was fascinating. But I can definitely understand anyone, especially a non-initiated Bergman viewer, finding it boring, or at least, hard to keep their attention on it. It's what one would call "slow-paced".

 

All the players in this odd film are very good - although sometimes I wonder if I'm qualified to comment one way or the other on anyone acting in a non-English language film, as I can't really judge the authenticity of their line-readings.

 

Anyway, some of the things about it I liked were:

Max von Sydow's performance. This was especially intriguing since he doesn't speak for most of the film's duration. I loved the two von Sydow personas, and the contrast between them: the "performer" Vogler, silent and mysterious, and the real Vogler, disillusioned, melancholy, compassionate, and angry.

 

I also enjoyed Bibi Andersson's portrayal of the lustful and at the same time innocent maid Sara. She was funny and sweet.

And the enigmatic, half-terrifying, half-laughable witch of a grandmother - she was one of the most interesting characters in the film.

 

Most of all I liked the other-worldly atmosphere which pervaded much of The Magician, and how you didn't know how much of this strange little troupe of travelling illusionists was trickery, and how much was genuine inexplicable magical power.

The post-autopsy attic scene is one of the eeriest I've ever experienced in a film. In fact, I'd say The Magician is worth watching if only for that 10 minutes or so of chilling weirdness. (sorry, it's really late as I'm writing this and the vocabulary part of my brain isn't working very well.)

 

So while slayton is right in his comments about  the film's "bleakness", I'd say there's more to it than that. The Magician is worth a viewing - or two. Just make sure your attention span is in good shape when you decide to watch it.

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Oh no, you must see this.  It may not be one of his great ones, but I personally like it as much as any of his, even Wild Strawberries.  Remember, if everything in life is absurd and meaningless, then so is despair and bleakness.

 

You're taking me too seriously. My fault, I'm often not as funny I think. That whole post was supposed to be a gag (inspired by your slightly overwrought but precise and compelling overview). I would watch The Magician, most willingly.

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my recording got messed up (Again) due to Direct TV & RAIN!! :angry:

That happened to me so many times in 2010 that I switched to FIOS.  Now all I have to worry about are disk failures, which happen about  1 in 100 times, and those #%!!@**# "emergency test" announcements that interrupt the movie randomly in the middle of the night and eat up 2 or 3 minutes of a recording right at the most critical point.  You'd think we were back in the days of the Cuban missile crisis with those Conelrad alerts.

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Well, misswonderly3, I was being a bit tounge-in-cheek in my posts--like Bergman was in the movie.  An alert viewer (not me) would notice the gothic excesses he put in it, and understand he was parodying himself slightly.  I find the whole movie as a colossal set-up for the final joke--on the characters in the movie and the viewers.  The turnabout is delightful.  In lightness of touch and winking cynicism worthy of Lubitsch.  And in the meantime, you also get a good imitation of a real Bergman film.

 

You're taking me too seriously. My fault, I'm often not as funny I think. That whole post was supposed to be a gag (inspired by your slightly overwrought but precise and compelling overview). I would watch The Magician, most willingly.

 

Hoist by my own kind of petard! 

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Well, misswonderly3, I was being a bit tounge-in-cheek in my posts--like Bergman was in the movie.  An alert viewer (not me) would notice the gothic excesses he put in it, and understand he was parodying himself slightly.  I find the whole movie as a colossal set-up for the final joke--on the characters in the movie and the viewers.  The turnabout is delightful.  In lightness of touch and winking cynicism worthy of Lubitsch.  And in the meantime, you also get a good imitation of a real Bergman film.

 

Exactly, slayton, baby.

If it hadn't been so late - I was a little sleepy when I wrote that post - I would have said something about how The Magician often looks like a parody of a Bergman film. That's partly what I meant when I said it was funny. There are quite a few scenes that made me think of a Woody Allen -type pastiche of an Ingmar Bergman movie. Especially the opening one, where the troupe is glumly hanging about some gloomy deserted landscape, accompanied by the sound of the howling wind and a single plangent  musical chord now and then for good measure. It really does look like Bergman's doing a send-up of that most Bergmanesque film of all, and the one he'd released the year before, The Seventh Seal.

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Hey, MissW, I envy your ability to write a review like that when your tired. I came on here after viewing this film last night, really excited about it, too, and found myself just as incapable as ever. I think better movies actually rob me of my gab-ility, somewhat.

 

Anywho, this was really something else. Immensely enjoyable film. I've watched a few Bergman films, not a lot, and they largely have been yet to grab me, though I generally like them (was esp. interested in Winter Light when I happened to catch the second half of it. Need to see the rest some time.) Maybe it was this one's pure entertainment value that makes it skyrocket to my favorite so far. The strange, foreboding atmosphere of the film gave the humor a weird, latent kick to it (if that makes sense.) I never knew what to expect from this film right up until it was over.

 

(Look out for SPOILERS (is this really necessary?))

 

The attic scene... it would have been better had he been more made-up to look autopsied, don't you think? At least to look as if his eye had been removed. Regardless, that was the craziest way to deliver a punchline I'd ever seen, I think. The skeptics line at the end, what was it? "A slight fear of death, nothing more," or something. How fantastic. It did a good job of putting us in the same boat as the skeptic, "What the heck? Yeah right, I don't believe this for a second. What a faker. This isn't that kind of movie... or is it? Hmm, getting tense, fascinat- AAAHHH!!"

 

As I said, I couldn't peg this movie for the duration. As it was intended, I'm sure. Max Von Sydow's character is the perfect example. We knew early on he wasn't really a mute, but how big a weirdo- how big a fraud was he? As it turned out (in hilarious fashion), a gargantuan one. The movie itself was just like him- mysterious, unsettling, a real odd ball and a huge facade. Max was great in this- I'm a fan now.

 

By the way, I have a question, seeing as how I'm not very cultured... the lines of the drunk actor- I was wondering if he kept quoting a play or if that was original dialogue that Bergman wrote? I found him quite compelling.

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(Look out for SPOILERS (is this really necessary?))

 

I would say YES ... and thank you.

 

Your "gab-illity" seems intact to me. (Despite your alert, I read it anyway but it's nice to have a choice.)

 

=

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Your "gab-illity" seems intact to me. (Despite your alert, I read it anyway but it's nice to have a choice.)

 

Sorry about that, it tends to come back over night. And then some.

 

Reading spoilers is seriously going to take away from your not-knowing-what-to-expect experience.

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Well, misswonderly3, I was being a bit tounge-in-cheek in my posts--like Bergman was in the movie.  An alert viewer (not me) would notice the gothic excesses he put in it, and understand he was parodying himself slightly.  I find the whole movie as a colossal set-up for the final joke--on the characters in the movie and the viewers.  The turnabout is delightful.  In lightness of touch and winking cynicism worthy of Lubitsch.  And in the meantime, you also get a good imitation of a real Bergman film.

 

 

Hoist by my own kind of petard! 

 

...I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men ...

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