Monday, December 12, 2022

Not to Mention All These Women

The End of the Late-Middle

One more time: the serif'y flowing, flowery lettering of the opening titles, something like like those that precede Smile of the Summer Night, a final marker to recall his old comedies; a farewell to a certain mode of comedy before Bergman's films give way absolutely to the pictures that will mark the second half, give or take, of his career in cinema, although his stage productions would go on to explore similar artificial territory. I've never necessarily understood, although perhaps the examples were a little too weak, directors who say they are going to make a black-and-white film in color. But I understand it here in Not to Mention All These Women [För att inte tala om alla dessa kvinnor, 1964], most often abbreviated as All These Women, from the opening shot, a virtuosic 5-minute single shot at the (never seen) cello master Felix's wake. A critic and composer Cornelius (one of the great Bergman actors of this era, Jarl Kulle) arrives at Felix's manor — Felix still alive, for the film works backwards from four days before the death wake — Cornelius on site as an ostensible critical-biographer of the maestro but all indications — or rather, all atmosphere and set-up — point at a murder-mystery that détourne its fake system for a comedy of love-affairs in which Cornelius willingly intrudes: think of the buckshot that goes off in the pistol roulette of Smile of the Summer Night

The slaughtering of statues, their stigmatization, becomes a common thread in the films of the Sixties, ContemptLast Year at Marienbad, Varda... imaginary films within films...

Garish dresses of the women make them stand out from the backdrop that has been prophesied, last supper for the Animaniacs...

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