Author and Cinema
Retro columnist Raymond Benson pays his respects to one of the cinema’s
most legendary directors.
Another one of my cinema heroes is gone.
I first discovered Ingmar Bergman when I was a freshman at
the University of Texas at Austin,
way back in 1973.My good friend and
Drama Department colleague Stuart Howard and I were working in the scene shop
as part of our required crew assignment when he said, “Hey, they’re showing The Seventh Seal tonight [on
campus].Want to go?”
I had heard of The
Seventh Seal and had seen that famous still photo of Max von Sydow playing
chess with Death, but I had never viewed the film or any other Bergman
picture.After all, I was fresh from Odessa, Texas,
where the idea of a foreign language film (with—aghh!—subtitles) was something alien and too bizarre to comprehend.Like most people in those days, I eventually discovered
the great foreign classics while I was a college student.