Bergman's Favorite Movies

Leo 2022-04-06 09:01:07

The Story of the Movie Part 9

May 4, 2018

ghost carriage

Intolerance (1921)

Victor Sjostrom

As soon as the second stanza of the movie's story came up, I watched two blockbusters "Cabylia" and "Party Dissent" more than 100 years ago. No matter from the setting or the movement of the camera, they were the benchmarks of the movie at that time. They already have all kinds of modern appearances in the film, which is visually shocking, but it is difficult to gain deeper psychological identity.

Maybe it's because they lack some of the more vivid characterizations, more nuanced storytelling, hammered into your heart.

Since the birth of the film, until Sadur called Griffith's appearance, "the beginning of Hollywood's domination of the world", but the film still lacks a touching story. The pioneers of the film still focus more on the advancement of technology and the innovation of narrative techniques, while relatively ignoring the in-depth cultivation of film texts.

"Ghost Carriage" was my favorite movie so far in this brief episode (only 4 films were selected). If the previous two masterpieces have raised the technical level and visual appearance of the film to a new height, "Ghost Carriage" has pushed the film's portrayal of the characters' psychology to the highest level. It tells a delicate story of such sadness and joy that it brings tears and laughter.

It was the most representative work of Swedish cinema in the early 1920s, and it also pushed the "Swedish (classical) school" to the forefront of world cinema at that time.

▲The soul of the painful protagonist in "Ghost Carriage"

We mentioned the Brighton School earlier. There are very few group schools named after place names in film history, and quite a few are named after countries. Like the familiar Soviet school, Italian Neorealism, French New Wave. And the Swedish (classical) school, which is earlier than these schools, may not be heard by many people.

The Swedish school is represented by Viktor Sjostrom, the director of the film Ghost Carriage, and Moritz Stiller, another Swedish director, along with Lars Hansson, Gus Tave Moreland, Gustav Edgren, John Brunius, Elf Sjöbg (who directed Bergman's first screenplay) and others this group.

If you watch "Ghost Carriage", you will of course notice his prominent flashbacks and flashbacks in the film narrative. If you are also moved by the characters' detailed brushwork, you will feel the role of the outdoor environment in the film. I have already touched some of the "commonality" of the Swedish school: delicate characterization, participation of natural scenery in the narrative, rigorous dramatic structure, good use of "flashbacks", etc.

▲ The flashback nesting of "Ghost Carriage" starts from the memory of this scene

"Ghost Carriage" opens with flashbacks shortly after the opening, and the middle paragraphs also have a complex structure of flashbacks. Griffith's juxtaposition of four stories in "Party Dissent" is of course bold, Sjostrom's narrative method of "two flowers blooming, one for each watch", there are flashbacks in the middle, but the end , merged into a torrent flowing into the heart, more vivid and natural than Griffith's faster and faster editing to play the theme.

"Ghost Carriage" tells a story about "redemption" in five acts, which we often call the classic story of "The Prodigal Son Returns for Money". A man who once had a happy and prosperous life became addicted to alcohol (an excellent video for quitting alcohol), and later became addicted to alcohol. He abandoned his wife and children and became a vagabond. Influenced by the "love of Christ" on his body, he performed "last minute rescue" to save his suicide wife.

The movie is adapted from Thelma Lagerloff’s novel. Fans who are familiar with Bible stories will of course connect with the story of the young son who was also reduced to a prodigal son and returned to his father’s arms in the Gospel of Luke in the Bible. In conjunction with the more sophisticated and complex narrative construction in Sjostrom's film, this biblical story seems to have traveled into the film, with two texts as one theme, making people experience the double joy of the resonance of "lost and found".

This is also thanks to the magical and poetic moments Sjostrom and photographer Julius Janssen have sculpted together. Here are re-inventions of stunt photography like Méliès overprinting, which uses double exposures to paint the soul out of the body. In the scene where the carriage of the god of death arrives, three exposures are used for the scene where the carriage, the body and the soul "coexist in the same room". Méliès's special effects are almost always confined to indoors, while "Ghost Carriage" inherits the Brighton School, liberating "special effects" in outdoor natural scenery, creating a subtle poetry in "natural" and "artificial" .

Especially when you see the ghost carriage running on the misty sea, the sense of movement is almost completely different from the European movies of the time. If you have seen the films of EMI, which was still strong in Europe at the same time (the overseas market received a huge impact from Hollywood at the beginning of World War I, but still maintains a leading position in Europe), you may not help frowning at the rigid "stage sense" , and cherish these wonderful dynamic images created by Shestrom.

The color of the film version released by CC is also very interesting, the outside is dyed a cool blue, and the indoor is a relatively warm yellow. It seems that no matter how difficult the world is, as long as you have a home, you can reap the last tenderness. Joking with friends: If this film is introduced and re-screened by the domestic art association, I am afraid that China's housing prices will rise a few points faster and better.

Indoor and outdoor color contrast

Much of what makes The Prodigal Son's story so moving is due to the actors' outstanding performances. It is none other than the director Sjostrom himself who plays the leading role of the tramp. Beginning in 1912 when he starred in friend Moritz Stiller's film, Sjostrom has been directing his own work with little interruption to his acting career. That year, the two most representative figures of the Swedish school also co-starred in a film called "The Spring of Life". Many years ago, when I read about Mr. Zheng Xuelai's film selection in Sweden, I remembered that he wrote that there are two screening halls in the Swedish Film Society's "Film House" named after these two directors to commemorate them.

It can be said that from the birth of the film until the early 1920s, "Ghost Carriage" Rhys Jostrom dedicated the most in-depth performance in the early film. No matter in the play, people's desire for self-destruction, or entangled in being influenced, and finally disregarding it, until the final heartbreak and awakening to the whole process, he performed very well. Because the film text is finally implemented at the practical level, one of the most important carriers is the actor's body, demeanor and expression. Without Sjostrom's performance, the keynote of the film would be greatly compromised, and this is the first time we've talked about "acting" since the film's story plan began. Because it's so impressive.

In fact, his acting career was longer than his directing career. We are better known for his screen role from one of his screen career farewells, Bergman's 1957 "Wild Strawberries." Sjostrom plays an old doctor who reminisces about the past and becomes famous in the film. The scene on the lawn at the end of "Wild Strawberry" is a rare warmth in an icy Bergman film. In another film he made in the same year, "The Seventh Seal", Bullock watched the scene of a homeless family having lunch on the lawn, suddenly Feel the "grace of life". This is a completely different moment from the description in Bergman's autobiography "The Magic Lamp", "I don't believe in anyone, I don't love anyone, I only care about myself" , and it is also almost the only two warmth. Considering that there is also a setting of "bargaining" with Death, and Bergman repeatedly calling "Ghost Carriage" his favorite film, it may be difficult to deny that this extremely rare "warm moment" in Bergman's films has not received a bit of attention. The Influence of "The Quiet".

▲The warmest moment in "The Seventh Seal"

Less than a year after the filming of "Ghost Carriage", Sjostrom went to Hollywood, which was on the rise, and Stiller soon took his Greta Garbo with him. After the two pillars of the Swedish School were far away from the familiar soil, they all encountered unacceptable conditions to a certain extent. A series of films shot and produced in Hollywood could hardly be called a real success, but Garbo achieved great success at MGM and became a Sweden contributed to one of Hollywood's brightest jewels (the other being Ingrid Bergman, who went to Hollywood in the 1930s).

The documentary "Film History" mentioned "Ghost Carriage" and said that after "Secret", the next time Swedish films re-entered the field of film history, it would be Bergman in the 1950s and new Swedish films after that. Movie history is a bit like a horse-drawn carriage in a movie, galloping, but it doesn't stop.

Section 2 The Narrative Function of Early Cinema (1903-1918)

1 Cabiria (1914) by Giovanni Pastorona

2 Intolerance (1916), D.W. Griffith

3 Ghost carriage Körkarlen (1921), Victor Sjostrom

4 The Witch Häxan (1922), Benjamin Christensen

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Extended Reading
  • Gerda 2022-04-06 08:01:01

    The true meaning of life

  • Carolyne 2022-04-08 09:01:13

    The whole plot is a little blunt, and the preaching is too heavy. Considering that it is a matter of age, there should still be something worthy of praise.

The Phantom Carriage quotes

  • Georges: Remember that it's New Year's Eve, the last day of the year! Whoever dies on this eve must drive Death's carriage.

  • Georges: There is an old, old carriage... It is no ordinary driver who holds the reigns, for he's in the service of a strict master named Death. For him, a single night is as long as 100 years on Earth. Night and day he must carry out his master's business.