Ingmar Bergman died today on the island of Faro, off the coast of Sweden.
it seems appropriate to rerun this post from January 2006 about my favorite Bergman film and the Oak Street Cinema. (The first 14 replies are from 2006.)
this breaks my heart.
save the oak street
Oak Street Cinema is one of the reasons I moved to the Twin Cities, and one of the reasons I remain. When I look back over the six years I've been here, almost every highlight involves the Oak Street.
The big one:
In the Presence of a Clown
Made for Swedish TV in 1997 and shot on video, Ingmar Bergman's triumphant return to the screen (at age 80) is nevertheless characteristic in mood and theme--enough so, in fact, as to offer itself as a career summation. Set just before the advent of film sound in the mid-Twenties, it observes the art and angst of yet another Bergman surrogate (Borje Ahlstedt)--an aging inventor who claims to have conceived "the living talking picture," a medium in which actors stand behind the movie screen reciting dialogue in sync with the film's images. Assembling a troupe of loyal actors, the auteur/inventor shoots a speculative bio-pic about the last days of Franz Schubert. When the time comes to perform the soundtrack, though, the film technology fails and the thespians gamely act out the movie on stage for a minuscule audience, Death (Agneta Ekmanner) among them. Is this Bergman's way of saying that the cinema--his cinema--is at the end of its life? If so, Clown's pixilated video look serves its allegory far better than its mise en scene, but the result is essential nonetheless.
(Rob Nelson) City Pages
At the point when this came to the Oak Street, Bergman wasn't allowing screenings. The Oak Street contacted his assistant and through months of back and forth phone calls and emails finally got permission to screen it one time (I believe). Am I dreaming, or was there something about the movie being rowed from an island???? When it finally reached Dinkytown and the Oak Street, it was on a VHS tape that didn't play? I swear I'm not making this up, but I'm trying to remember!! So they had to rent another player at the last minute. Anyway, all of the obstacles lent an even greater magic to the event. And the movie itself seemed a culmination of Bergman's career. When it ended the theater was silent. People stood. Then came a huge eruption of noise.
When I go to the Oak Street there's a feeling of knowing the other people in the theater even though I don't. We are all there for the same reason. We love film.
I saw Elliot Gould there. Just walking around looking cool in his suit. They screened the Long Goodbye. Afterward he sat on the stage and chatted with everybody. And Bruce Campbell came to visit for Man with the Screaming Brain. James Ellroy screened a documentary there. One guy told me he drove four hours to see it. Unfortunately Ellroy was sick and didn't make it, but the documentary was amazing. This summer was the Twin Peaks Festival. Moviegoers baked cherry pies for the audience. I've stood in lines that went around the block. I've come out of the theater to see even longer lines. The line is part of the experience. It sets up the feeling of camaraderie and builds excitement as we wait for the doors to open.
Okay, here's the big thing. The Oak Street is in debt but 130,000.00 isn't that much. This place should be supported by endowments and grants and fundraisers. It shouldn't have to make enough money on ticket sales to stay open. That's impossible.
Dammit, Minneapolis. Don't let this happen!!