31 July 2007


It's been a tough week already for worthwhile film directors: First, Ingmar Bergman had his final meeting with Death. Then, within hours, Michelangelo Antonioni met his maker (so to speak).

If there's one thing these two filmmakers shared, it was a sense of film as metaphor instead of as a distinct medium; a means, not an end. One cannot say the same of too many other figures in the world of film, whether producers, directors, writers, or some combination thereof. Instead, we get stuck with nonsense from purported masters like John Ford filling the "film curriculum," because one cannot watch a Bergman or Antonioni film with one's brain off like one can with all but a precious few Westerns.

Another "cerebral" figure in entertainment that often reaches for (and too often achieves) the spectacle of "entertainment leaving brain at door" also died in the last couple of days. Somehow, though, I doubt that Bill Walsh's demise is going to be mourned all that much outside the US.