Ingmar Bergman is still calling the shots

“No art passes our conscience in the way film does and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” —Ingmar Bergman

  There are lots of “what if Ingmar Bergman did a commercial” clips on the Web. The formula is simple: As long as a personification of death appears, it’s a parody of Bergman. Such is the lasting power of the imagery crafted by the Swedish auteur in his heyday. Bergman actually did direct a series of ads in 1951 for Bris Soap. Here’s one. The spots are quite charming, and feature dialogue like, “Bris kills the bacteria. No bacteria, no smell.” Not so different, perhaps, than the script for Persona. One can almost see the faces of Bibi Anderson and Liv Ullman fusing together as they speak that overly literal, yet oddly Bergmanesque slogan. The Seventh Seal’s famous closing sequence shows a “dance with death.” The reaper leads the procession, but Bergman, behind the camera, called the tune. I like to think that hasn’t changed. The director died on Monday at age 89.

—Posted by David Gianatasio