BTLXXVII 1995: The Last Gasp

The Last Gasp (Sista skriket). Ingmar Bergman. 1995. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐★.

The first ten minutes is documentary: Bergman shows us clips from old Swedish films (pre 1920) and tells us a bit about the people that made the films.

And then we get a one act TV play where Bergman imagines a meeting between two of these filmmakers.

It’s basically a monologue, and it’s great. The guy who does the monologue’s fine, but I can’t help imagining Gunnar Björnstrand in the role, perhaps because he seems to be adopting some of his mannerisms in imagining what a 1920 actor/director would behave like.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXVI 1992: The Best Intentions

The Best Intentions (Den goda viljan). Bille August. 1992. ⭐⭐⭐★★★.

The copy I had of this film didn’t work, so I had to watch it via Amazon Prime, and it turns out to have two levels of subtitling in English: One from the theatrical version (burned into the film) and one for the hard of hearing (which I probably could have switched off before I ripped it from Amazon for watching on Linux). And since it’s Amazon, the latter subtitles grow increasingly out of sync and at the end appear half a minute before the sound.

Oh, well.

Anyway, this is yet another film with a script by Bergman based on his autobiography. (Well, it’s a TV series also released theatrically.) So lots of early-1900s drama. But this isn’t bad; directed by the guy who later did The House of the Spirits and other overblown pan-European melodramas.

It’s fun seeing Max von Sydow again. It’s been, like, several weeks. But everything that’s fun about Bergman has been straightened out and made obvious and overblown; no emotional beat is allowed to proceed without the score telling us how to feel, the children laugh at exactly the right place, the camera moves to the right place for the actors to walk into for maximum melodramatic effect.

This was apparently a major success and won a lot of awards (like the Cannes d’or one). I think it doesn’t get interesting until after the marriage, because the portrait of the priest and his wife (i.e., Bergman’s parents) at work is new and fresh and very sympathetic. And then it goes zzz again.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

Flashair, Emacs and Me

My blogging methodology is that I 1) open an Emacs Message buffer, write stuff, and then 2) take pictures of stuff (mostly comics), wanting to have those images appear right where I’m typing. This is a solved issued with Flashair, PyFlashAero and watch-directory.el, but I thought that it sucked that there were so many moving parts.

And besides, PyFlashAero didn’t always do the right thing, and you have to specify so much stuff…

So I wanted to bring it all into Emacs for less fuss. You know this makes sense.

I had a third generation Toshiba Flashair card (W-03), and the problem is that it’s just too slow for my approach, which is basically to look into all directories on the card. It’s s-l-o-w. So I gave up in the project. PyFlashAero was written that way for a reason.

Half a year passed, and then I somehow was made aware that Toshiba had launched a new generation of their product, and it promised 3x faster WIFI speeds and a brand new and faster CPU.

So I got a card:

And I would like to say that it was an immediate success, but it definitely wasn’t. I could download the directory indices nice and fast, but whenever I tried to download an image, it stopped after 0 (zero) bytes. So it seemed like that card had a problem reading itself, basically, and would just hang whenever I tried requesting some data from the (exfat) file system on the card.

But! There was a new firmware W4.00.02, and I had W4.00.00. I installed the new firmware, and presto! It is teh work!

Look, I can snap pics of myself here I’m typing this stuff on the couch:

And it appears in the buffer within a second or two after I snap it! It’s a new paradigm! And it’s untouched by filthy unclean Pythonic hands; it’s all pure Emacs.

The range of the Flashair W-04 also seems improved… the old one had to be within a few meters of my laptop for the laptop and the Flashair to be able to communicate whereas the W-04 seems to be able to communicate over, er, more meters. Here, I went out into the hall and snapped a pic and this image was here in this buffer when I got back:

It’s magic!

But when I went to the kitchen and snapped a pic there, nothing showed up here, so it’s not that magical.

Anyway, here’s the Emacs source code.  You probably need a newish Emacs version for it to work.

BTLXXV 1993: The Bacchae

The Bacchae (Backanterna). Ingmar Bergman. 1993. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐★.

Bergman had first staged this opera to great acclaim at the Stockholm opera. This TV version is, as usual with Bergman, hugely reworked. And between the acts we get a five minute lecture about Dionysus.

Anyway, it’s trey fab, especially the first act. I think it loses some tension in the second act when the plot goes a bit eh? I mean, we (and the Bacchae) are supposed to care that much about that dick-head king dying for some reason or other instead of rejoicing? It’s sad for the mother, of course, but, uhm.

But the first act is off the curb.

I got my copy of this from the Bergman bootlegger.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXIV 1992: Sunday’s Children

Sunday’s Children (Söndagsbarn). Daniel Bergman. 1992. ⭐⭐★★★★.

This film is based on a script by Ingmar Bergman (which is again based on a chapter of his autobiography Laterna Magica). It’s about Bergman’s fraught relationship with his father, and it’s directed by Bergman’s son Daniel.

It’s like Bergman-o-rama.

The most amazing thing about this film is that the cinematographer won the award that year at the Swedish Oscars. It’s so thoroughly indifferent.

There are interesting scenes in here, but they’re not very frequent. The rest of the film shifts uneasily between boredom and embarrassment. I wonder whether this could have been salvaged by better actors, director and cinematography, but who knows? If everything on the screen had been something else, then it would be have been something else.

So deep.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXIII 1992: Before Madame de Sade

Before Madame de Sade (Inför Markisinnan de Sade). 1992. ⭐⭐⭐★★★.

This is an interview that was shown before Madame de Sade on Swedish TV, so I should probably have watched it first, but I hate knowing stuff about things I’m going to see, so I didn’t. Hah!

Bergman mostly talks about Mishima and not so much about the play, which is a bit disappointing. I wanted nerdy technical details about what Bergman had cut from the text and stuff, but we barely get into that.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTLXXII 1992: Madame de Sade

Madame de Sade (Markisinnan de Sade). Ingmar Bergman. 1992. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

This is the TV version of Mishima’s play that Bergman had staged at several theatres. It looks like it’s been somewhat reworked for TV: It’s by no means just a filmed version of the stage version.

I got my copy off of teh torrenz, and it’s a kinda crappy copy, because it’s been sourced from VHS and there’s a loud buzzing sound throughout.

I’ve never thought much of Mishima: I’ve always found him somewhere on the trite-to-melodramatic scale, but this it a totes fascinating staging. And the actors! Geez. Brilliant, especially, well, all six of them! Amazing! But, of course, Stina Ekblad is a particular favourite, as always.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.