Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Magic Lantern

Author(s): Harry
Location: Colombia

"Magic Lantern"

Distributed by: Miramax Pictures
Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Written by: Lasse Hallström and Bernardo Bertolucci
Original Score by: Ennio Moriconne
Production Design by: Gianni Quaranta
Cinematography by: Bruno Delbonnel
Costume Design by: Inger Pehrsson
Produced by: Richard Attenborough

Main Cast

Stellan Skarsgård (Ingmar Bergman)
Julie Delpy (Liv Ullmann)
Bruno Ganz (Victor Sjöström)
Alexandra Maria Lara (Harriet Andersson)
Scarlett Johansson (Ingrid Bergman)
Mads Mikkelsen (Erik Bergman)
Julia Jentsch (Karin Bergman)
Luke Spill (Young Ingmar Bergman)

Tagline: "A magic lantern can project the emotions of an artist"

Synopsis: Cinema. An obscure art that epitomizes. Cinema is like a dream. It goes directly into our feelings. It can travel the twilight room of the soul. Once, a young boy was locked in an uncomfortable and frightening wardrobe. This boy finds a magic lantern. As he turned around the crank, it would project mystical images. Cinema was his light in the middle of darkness. His name was Ingmar Bergman. This is his story…

Ingmar Bergman, an old man with a breathtaking passion, rests in his home in Faro, Sweden. Ingmar, inspired, begins to write his memories. He reveals his strongest demons as he writes and inevitably, cries. The words, written on the paper, suddenly become images. They are as intense as desperation. We see Ingmar in his childhood. He is painfully hit by Bishop Erik, a strict and perverse man that he recognized as his father. His mother Karin is depressive and tormented. Ingmar is blind towards love. He is a slave of his sins. He blames God. He fears death. His journey in life would become a dark mark in his soul. He regrets the day when he tried to murder his baby sister with his detestable brother. We then see Ingmar’s coming of age. He has his first sexual experiences and leaves his home, a place inhabited by ghosts and hate. Ingmar’s memories are as intense as sadness.

Ingmar continues his tragic path. He becomes a sensible theater director and an artistic filmmaker as well as an unfaithful husband. He leaves various families behind. He hasn’t been a father to any of his sons. The demons of his childhood haunt him. His inner doubts become a heavy weight in his persona. He is mentally and physically sick. Cinema, his life companion, suddenly illuminates him. Ingmar portrays his pain and his inner feelings through the seventh art. It is his way of freedom of expression. From his director chair, he witnesses the lives of his most admired actors such as the genius of Victor Sjöström, a man with a lack of confidence in himself; the attractive Harriet Andersson with whom he has an illicit love affair; a very sick and sad Ingrid Bergman who critiques his directing and his muse Liv Ullman, a woman with whom he has a beautiful friendship and who portrays emotion with her eyes. As we go back to Faro, the old Ingmar Bergman finishes writing his unforgettable story with an emotionally exhaustive ending.

What the Press would say:

Ingmar Bergman once said: “No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul”. Words that perfectly describe “Magic Lantern”, a powerful portrait about a tormented man and his unbreakable love for cinema. This film is both, a complex human study and an inspiring work of art. Bernardo Bertolucci and Lasse Hallström wrote a screenplay that touches the emotional core, based on Ingmar Bergman’s autobiography of the same name. The story is told through Bergman’s point of view as he writes the story of his life. His character development is evident in the film.

Bernardo Bertolucci directs another splendid motion picture. He mixes many elements of his past films to create one of his most beautiful. The film shows various decades in Sweden, from the twenties to the eighties. The atmosphere is dark and intense. Bertolucci and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel create an artwork with every shot. The light is perfect and the combination of colors mesmerizes. The film has some red tones as a symbol of Bergman’s philosophy: he believed that the human soul was red because it was desperate. Bertolucci also portrays some very emotional scenes and Ennio Moriconne’s haunting score gives more depth to them. Bertolucci is also an actor’s director in this film. Every single performance in the film is believable and that’s not just because of the great makeup work.

Stellan Skarsgård gives a tremendous transformation as Ingmar Bergman. I didn’t see him on screen, I saw Ingmar. His body movement and voice were simply identical. Stellan also gives the most breathtaking performance of his career. The emotion he portrays is simply draining. His performance is controlled but it was incredibly moving. In the theater where I saw the movie, the eyes of many persons were full of tears. Julie Delpy is also astonishing as Liv Ullman. When Ingmar was directing Liv in some scenes, her eyes gave a transcendental feel. Bruno Ganz also deserves some merit for his turn as Victor Sjöström, a man with a lack of confidence. The other performances of the film are amazing and Luke Spill is the breakthrough actor of the year as young Ingmar Bergman. All in all, “Magic Lantern” is an artistic motion picture that will never be forgotten.

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture: Richard Attenborough
Best Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Actor: Stellan Skarsgård
Best Supporting Actor: Bruno Ganz
Best Supporting Actress: Julie Delpy
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bernardo Bertolucci and Lasse Hallström
As well as various other technical categories

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