The Thinking Machine #68

Matters of Time

In their series The Thinking Machine, critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin create a new video essay for Filmkrant every month.

The cinema of Ingmar Bergman is sometimes pitiless – and never more so than when he confronts the issue of his characters (and, by extension, himself) ageing. From the Life of the Marionettes (1980) and After the Rehearsal (1984) are two remarkable films from his little-studied and under-valued television period. They offer two strikingly similar, tortured monologues about the physical decay and emotional void of growing older. Both scenes involve mirrors, turns of the body, and the relentless gaze upon the human face.