The besties review
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Loved the gothic vibes this was giving off. It took a while for me to get into it, but eventually I fell in love with Max von Sydow's silent illusionist and the rest of Bergman's motley crew. Plus the tonal shifts between humor and horror were brilliantly done. This is one that I will be really excited to revisit in the future!
The Virgin Spring
Not really my style. While I recognize the high level of craft, I must confess that I was pretty disengaged for most of this. Maybe I'll come back to it at some point later on, once I've seen a few more of Bergman's films, but compared to what I have seen (The Magician, Persona, The Seventh Seal), this just doesn't hold up for me.
Hour of the Wolf
Technically wonderful with an intriguing concept and two eerie, nuanced performances from von Sydow and Ullmann, but I just never really got into it. I think I am coming to terms with the fact that Bergman just isn’t totally my vibe. I haven’t totally disliked anything I’ve seen from him, but nothing but Persona really blew me away.
Tense, hectic, upsetting. Bergman’s wartime drama is unlike anything else I’ve seen from him. I know I have chosen to watch this set of Bergman films due to the recent passing of von Sydow, but once again his co-star Liv Ullmann steals the show for me.
The Passion of Anna
This movie had something that truly surprised me— miraculous color! The Passion of Anna is more melodramatic and painterly than the previous Bergman films I’ve watched, but I still felt a bit lost inside the narrative. I think the film was purposefully ambiguous and self-reflexive, but I felt a distance while I watched this that I could not reconcile.
What I liked most were the actors’ vignettes dispersed throughout the film. These interludes were probably the single most interesting thing I’ve seen from Bergman during this five movie binge of his collaborations with Max von Sydow.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!