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”Ingmar Bergman” by Charles Thomas Samuels

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The analyzed extract represents an interview of Ingmar Bergman by Charles Thomas Samuels. Ingmar Bergman – a famous Swedish film director, writer and theatre producer was born in 1918.His psychological films are well known all over the world. He wrote the scripts for most of his films and won awards for many of them. The title of the text deals also with the whole book written by Ch. Thomas Samuels who went around the world to meet one by one with a great number of the best living film directors. Samuels had a style that came off on paper as probing, celebral, sometimes presumptuous, and not infrequently hairsplitting, going beyond challenging questions into pointed arguments over «implausible» bits of dialogue and sound effects and the worth of this or that film. The extract leads about the life of Ingmar Bergman, to be more exact, about the process of his becoming as a film director. The following text is written in the publicistic style and represents a blend of a dialogue, description and an account of events. As it’s a dialogue, the whole extract is written in the first person. The analyzed interview is concerned with the modern world as it took place in the twenty first century.

The conversation between two men was going on in a free and natural atmosphere. In the exposition we find out about Bergman’s childhood that was not very easy. He always suffered of an almost complete lack of words. His education was very rigid. He had very few contacts with reality and playing with a puppet theatre and a projection device was the only form of his self- expression. In the gradation we find out why Bergman preferred the profession of a director to the profession of a writer. The gradation is especially well-expressed in the questions and emotions. Bergman confessed that writing was never his cup of tea. It was always difficult for him to find words he wanted. He felt something was left out. He directed in his head in a way. Bergman had to translate words into speeches, flesh and blood and had an enormous need for contact with the audience. For him words were not satisfying. And here we see the beginning of the conflict when two different approaches were confronted: Samuels said that Bergman’s films had emotional impact although they were intellectually difficult. The journalist gave Bergman’s film «The Rite» as an example. But the director answered that he never asked anybody to understand, he only asked to feel. «The Rite» expressed his resentment against the critics, audience and government.

The purpose was to amuse himself and the audience. Then he made a reference to Stravinskiy and compared his attitude to music with his own to directing and understanding films. Stravinskiy never understood a piece of music in his life, he only felt. Here we can see the increasing of the emotional condition of the both men. They were almost irritated because they couldn’t accept the opinions of each other. At this very moment we deal with the climax, when Bergman practically exclaimed that he had made his pictures for use. They were made to put him in contact with other human beings. His impulse had nothing to do with intellect or symbolist. I don’t think we can say the conflict was settled because both of them stayed of the same mind although they went on their conversation in a quiet atmosphere. After this scene both of them calmed down and we begin to deal with the anti-climax. Bergman talked about Bibi Anderson who had managed to make «The Touch» more comprehensible for ordinary people and more powerful.

He didn’t use much music in his pictures because a film is music itself. Bergman preferred to shoot in black and white and to force people to imagine the colors. Human communication occurred through words. That’s why he used so many dialogues. Samuels also mentioned that Bergman’s films were criticized for being theatrical. The director explained it as an influence of his previous work in the theatre where he had had some troubles with the crew, cameras and so on. In the end Bergman came to the conclusion that a day had to always come along when finally one succeeded so in understanding his profession. Although the given extract is rather emotional it’s not rich in stylistic devices. There are some epithets in the beginning (a single reason, a special word).The interviewer used them to emphasize the uniqueness of Bergman and of the contribution that he had made in the world- movie development. The text also contains some metaphors such as “a private world of my own dreams”, “a picture is just a game” and some phraseological expressions based on metaphor such as “flesh and blood”, “it was never my cup of tea”.

I think Bergman used such phrases to make the misery and the unhappiness of his childhood more vivid and the difficulty of his life expressive. In the course of the whole interview Samuels drew an analogy between directors and writers. That’s why already after the story of Bergman’s childhood Samuels used a simile: «This description of your childhood resembles of a writer».As after that the emotional tension between the speakers arouse we can notice some epithets that are very impressive and even based on exaggeration: «enormous need», «baffled effort», «non-discursive music». To prove and to assert his position during the conflict Bergman used some vivid metaphors based on personification: «Films, plays… all make propositions or observations, embody ideas or beliefs»; «Music films, plays always work directly on the emotions». When the conflict became extinct we can find some nice and pleasant epithets that show the calmness of the atmosphere: «a lovely and extremely talented actress, a powerful film».

There are also some metaphors, for example: «film itself is a music», “put music in music”. In the end we see a bright and sarcastic irony: «I’m so impressed by young directors now who know now to make a film from the first moment». Besides there’s a great number of repetitions through out the text. They are especially connected with the two main ideas of theinterview:1) the relationship between the director and the audience («A have an enormous need for contact with the audience»; «What I need is to come in contact with the others») and 2) the problem of perception of Bergman s films : ( «I never ask you to understand, I ask you only that you feel»; «I never ask people to understand what I have made»; « I never try to understand»).

We should also mention that the interview is mostly based on the special and complex vocabulary, combining cinematic and theatrical notions. Although the interview is very complex it’s easy to point out the main idea of it: tastes differ and there’s no need to ask anybody about his or her way of perception of the different woks of art. We should be tolerant to any point of view and we can express our own. In conclusion I can say that the whole interview was very emotive and Samuels was leading it in his typical provoking manner to make it more popular with the audience and more attractive for the readers.

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