High-rated movies with very few views. Suggestions are welcome.
Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician (Ansiktet) is an engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema’s premier illusionists. Max von Sydow stars as Dr. Vogler, a nineteenth-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions whose magic is put to the test in Stockholm by the cruel, eminently rational royal medical adviser Dr. Vergérus. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot in rich, gorgeously gothic black and white.
I’ve come to Bergman rather reluctantly. There’s a presupposition that his films are overtly philosophical and full of abstract dialogue that needs to be ‘worked out’ rather than enjoyed. Bergman rivals Kubrick as a director whose films are lumbered with more academic analysis than any creative work should have to bear. In some circles, to name Bergman as a favourite director is to admit you’re so far up your own ass that you can only access movies on a purely intellectual level. Which would make you a pretty sad case.
This movie isn't a chore and I'm going to briefly tell you why without relying on 'interior meanings' or anything that isn't happening immediately on the screen.
Set in the…
The Magician is an interesting story, to say the least. It never quite conforms to one genre, often times feeling like a comedy film, at others a horror film and still others as a straightforward drama. At first this all may be a bit jarring, but eventually it becomes clear that this is no accident. Leave it to the magician himself Ingmar Bergman to make all of these themes meld together to form an endlessly entertaining, impactful film.
The film follows Albert Emanuel Vogler and his traveling "magnetic health theater" as they run from the law and meet up with a group of skeptics. Throughout the film they're forced to perform their…
Bergman has a tremendous amount of fun toying with the audience with this film and it is probably his most purposefully inaccessible work. And it's not even inaccessible to the point where the audience cannot comprehend the plot but that it's impossible to relate or connect with the plot. This is all due to the purposeful ambiguity in the match up that is among Bergman's most famed debates which is the rational versus the inexplicable (science versus supernatural in this case).
The Magician in all, is very underrated in Bergman's oeuvre. This rewatch did not hold up as well as the intoxication of my first viewing which alas was during my cinema birth with Bergman. That's understandable but it is…
Film #15 of The "Cinebro, You Magnificent Bastard" Challenge
Now here's something that you don't see every day: a movie about the open contempt that a director feels for his audience. Well, OK, maybe not his entire audience, but it's pretty clear that "The Magician" has a bone to pick with someone. I've read that Bergman's early international reputation far outstripped his reception at home, and this film feels like his chance to tell his provincial Swedish detractors to go jump in a lake.
Set in nineteenth century Sweden, "The Magician" follows a troupe of vagabond illusionists (led by Max von Sydow) who are brought before a local magistrate to prove the integrity of their act. Once in the hands…
It's the mid-1800s, the magician Vogler with company is traveling through the Swedish forest. They are heading to Stockholm, where Vogler is invited to consult Egerman to show off his magic skills. But there's another guest in the house, the medical advicer Vergérus whom highly doubt Vogler supernatural powers.
Vogler and his gang surely looks and acts like your typical traveling con artists. Their escapades with the servants make the movie suffer some farce like moments, just as parts of "the big show" towards ending (With reservations for it not being that clear if you're not Swedish) And I say suffer, because it's rather unfitting. There are some real wit and shrewdness in the dialogue (as always in Bergman's films)…
An exploration of art and science by one of the masters.
"The author presumes there's a great general thing called truth somewhere out there. That theory is pure illusion."
The Magician, after just one simple viewing, has become my favorite Bergman movie. It has the perfect analytical setup: traveling performers and upper class intellectuals are all put in a house together, forcing them to interact through deceit and logic.
Shot on glorious 35mm black and white film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Bergman and his trusted DP, Gunnar Fischer, caputure the twisted and humorously sadistic tone of this film beautifully. The Swedish director utilizes his infamous camera trickery to tell the entirety of the tricky film, managing to leave those on both sides of the science vs. faith debate with enough…
Bergman's first movie post-SEVENTH SEAL is a story beat away from being considered one of his finest. Instead, it's a lengthy affair that doesn't quite know how to conclude. For a cast full of Bergman All-Stars, it's hard to fail, and there are a handful of well-positioned scares for me to give this a light recommendation.
Bergman Lite. The Magician doesn't dig into loss and pain or man's purpose in life. It is more of a jab at intellectuals who think very highly of themselves and look down on those who believe in an immaterial realm.
On this viewing, I was feeling like the first half of the movie is a little too on the nose, thematically speaking. But I love how Bergman expands and opens up on the concepts of the known and unknown in the second half. This really is an exploration of "truth." The film is full of disguises and lies, some obvious and some mysterious and vague. It's also a great combination of Bergman's comedic and philosophical writing, seamlessly intertwined.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ingmar Bergman hypnotic thought provoking one, with his favorite actor Max von Sydow as a traveling magician named Albert Vogler. Reading reports of a variety of supernatural disturbances at Vogler's prior performances abroad, the leading townspeople request that Vogler's troupe provide them a sample of their act, before allowing them public audiences. The scientifically minded disbelievers try to expose them as charlatans, but Vogler has a few tricks up his sleeve. splendid constructive cinematography of this particular reveal each character's details. Magician evoked every moment with distinct dimension of experimenting nature of Bergman's metaphysical discussion. Temptation , guilt , existence , death and illusion blended in a single layer of narration that is captivating to watch, as it was inspired from a play, Bergman also staged it before presenting behind camera. so you could face a theater void nevertheless technically it is well crafted.
Who knew Bergman could be funny and accessible? This is one film that was more of a leisurely view than a major brain drain. Sort of a cross between Seventh Seal, The Prestige and a period piece soap opera with hook-ups on every hand. An odd medley, but my first impression nonetheless.
Underneath Bergman's questions of faith and God (spirit/magic vs. man in this case) still surface if you look hard enough. It is not surprising this is sandwiched between the Seventh Seal and his Faith Trilogy.
While enjoyable I found myself comparing to his other films and never felt this completely had its own identity.
One of Bergman's less populous films, The Magician is a blend of a few genres that never goes full force into any one direction. It stars Max von Sydow as the magician Vogler, who's character is closer to Jesus Christ than Harry Houdini.
I wasn't enamored by this film as I am with a lot of Bergman films. But as always there is probably more than meets the eye. It's definitely one of Bergman's more haunting films.
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…