Brief Encounters: 1978 (The Criterion Collection)

By Darin Skaggs

As I take a look into the year of film of 1978 I thought I would give some brief thoughts on films I will not be writing a review for. Since I have a podcast dedicating to talking about every film in The Criterion Collection I thought I should not give a full review to them, but I would like to write a few words on them.

autem s

Autumn Sonata

                The only film directed by Ingmar Bergman starring Ingrid Bergman, no relation. I assume this started as a joke, luckily they are both extremely talented and made a magnificent film. The movie stars Liv Ullmann as Eva who writes her mother Charlotte played by Bergman. They haven’t seen each other in years and when she arrives they slowly remember why. I am male so I don’t have any answer to this, but why in the majority of movies with a central mother and daughter relationship do the two characters despise each other? Ullmann and Bergman are fantastic in their roles and the way it is told is beautiful. Flashback scenes are told from a distant, you cannot see anybody’s face to well because the characters want to distant themselves from those memories, while the modern day is all told in close up or mostly close up because finally the confirmation between this mother and daughter is coming to the forefront. This is one of Bergman’s best and 1978’s best, heck, maybe of all time.

gates of heaven

Gates of Heaven

                Good documentaries take a look at a subject in an interesting way. Great documentaries take a look at a subject and relate it to humanity. This film is about workers and customers of pet cemetery, but it is not told in the traditional way. Errol Morris, the director of the film, just let’s people talk and doesn’t interrupt even when they go off subject. An older women starts talking about her pets then goes on a tangent about her ungrateful grandson whom she raised from a little boy. This could be seen as unneeded, but the scenes like this just prove how important pets are to people. Sometimes they do not have anyone else through no fault of their own.

watership down

Watership Down

                The fact that Watership Down, which is based on a book, got made the way it was is crazy. Mind you the alternative of doing hand drawn bunny violence, is real life bunny violence, so animated is probably better. It is still very odd to watch. It is also pretty good, it takes a look at the horrors of humanity by being a mirror image of the underground railroad. It is weird seeing bunnies bite each other and break skin, but the allegory works. Not a movie you would want to visit over and over which is something foreign to me about most animated classics


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