Wednesday, May 4, 2011
THE MAGICIAN (1958, SWEDEN), THE VIRGIN SPRING (1960, SWEDEN), HOUR OF THE WOLF (1968, SWEDEN)
The 1001 blogger has decided to watch as many films as he can from one of his favorite filmmakers, Ingmar Bergman. He knows despite the potential positive aspects of such an adventure, this road may be fraught with just as much potential for emotional distress. This is his second scheduled session with Dr. Berger, though a surprise is waiting for him as he enters Berger’s office.
(A tall man greets the 1001 blogger, sticking out his long, slender hand. The 1001 blogger hesitates, but shakes it.)
1001 blogger: Hello. Where is Dr. Berger?
Dr. Maxx: (Speaking in a very deep voice) First of all, my name is Dr. Maxx. I will be sitting in for Dr. Berger this week.
1001 blogger: Sitting in for Dr. Berger? I can’t just change analysts half way through my therapy! What happened to Dr. Berger?
Dr. Maxx: I do apologize for my colleague. He had the sudden urge to hop a plane to somewhere in Scandinavia. Uppsala, I believe. Something about a ritual dance he has to perform and something about participating in a chess match. That’s a long way to travel for a game if you asked me. Regardless, I have been updated on your progress and hope you feel like you can talk to me.
(The blogger reluctantly sits down. Dr. Maxx does likewise. Before the 1001 blogger responds, he stops to look deeper into Dr. Maxx’s expressive face)
1001 blogger: You know, you look just like him.
Dr. Maxx: Of whom do your refer?
1001 blogger: Max Von Sydow.
Dr. Maxx: I see. And tell me the movies you saw this week.
1001 blogger: The Magician, The Virgin Spring and Hour of the Wolf
Dr. Maxx: And would Max Von Sydow be in any of these films?
1001 blogger: Not just any. He’s in all of them.
(Dr. Maxx writes something on his notepad.)
1001 blogger: What are you saying? What did you write down?
Dr. Maxx: Sorry, that’s confidential. Tell me about The Magician.
1001 blogger: I first saw it years ago. Really liked it. Still like it, but wouldn’t put it in my favorites. There’s a bit too much of Bergman trying to shoot back at his critics. It did have a lot to say about how things aren’t always what they seem.
Dr. Maxx: And how did it make you feel?
1001 blogger: Not bad. Felt pretty good, actually. Make sure you write that down in your notepad. (The 1001 blogger notices the notepad that was in Dr. Maxx’s hand a moment ago is now on the desk on the opposite side of the room.)
1001 blogger: How did you do that? You were writing in your notebook and now it’s over on that desk and you didn’t move from your seat and….(The 1001 blogger looks at Dr. Maxx and his mind flashes from Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told to the old priest in The Exorcist. He begins to feel woozy and starts to keel over. Dr. Maxx seemingly apparates next to him with a glass of water, which the blogger drinks.)
Dr. Maxx: (Steadying the 1001 blogger) I think you need to keep up your strength. Feel better now? If so, I think we should continue. (Dr. Maxx walks over to his desk to get the notepad before returning to his chair.) Please go on.
1001 blogger: (breathing normally again) I watched The Virgin Spring next. I’ve seen that one before, too.
Dr. Maxx: And?
1001 blogger: I liked it very much. I don’t think it’s Bergman’s favorite of his own films from what I’ve heard. And the Cahiers du Cinema crowd didn’t care for it either. But what do those Francophonies know anyway? I liked the whole pull of the secular vs. the saintly or the old mythologies vs. the coming of the new ones. These are things that tug on me as well. What do you think?
Dr. Maxx: Interesting. (He jots down more on his notepad for a full minute.)
1001 blogger: Are you going to share some of these observations you’re writing down with me?
Dr. Maxx: Not right now. Tell me about the next film.
1001 blogger: (Taking a deep breath) I didn’t know anything about Hour of the Wolf before I saw it. I didn’t understand all of it. I’m not sure anyone does. But, the dream sequence, if it was a dream, I’ll be thinking about this in my own dreams for weeks to come. And what did the boy he kills represent? And just who were those people in the castle? Was his wife seeing them, too? Was everything just a projection of Bergman’s reality? Was Bergman trying to tell the viewer this by starting the film with the sounds of the set being built? Answer me Dr. Maxx! Answer, me!
Dr. Maxx: Interesting. (He writes more down on his notepad but offers no more explanation much to the dismay of the 1001 blogger.) One more thing, do you want to talk about the movie Persona yet?
(The 1001 blogger just shakes his head and slumps back in his seat.)
Dr. Maxx: Very well. You should come back next week, but I think you need more of a specialist. She is an expert in cases of your type. (He rips off a piece of his notebook paper and gives it to the 1001 blogger. It reads simply: Same time, next week.)
1001 blogger: (Looking down at the piece of paper.) A specialist? For my case type? What about Dr. Berger? (Looking up) Dr. Maxx?… Dr. Maxx?
(Dr. Maxx has vanished seemingly into thin air. Shaken, the 1001 blogger grips the paper the doctor has given to him, pulls himself out of his chair and heads out the door, clearly worse off than when he entered.)
To Be Continued