Ingmar Bergman has died, aged 89. According to reports, Bergman went peacefully on Faro Island, the site of several of his films. The genius director leaves a vast legacy of stunning films - not least The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and The Virgin Spring. Bergman was nominated for nine Oscars during his 60-year career, winning the best foreign film Oscar three times.
He was much admired by many of today's greatest directors. Steven Spielberg once said of Bergman: "I have always admired him, and I wish I could be a equally good filmmaker as he is, but it will never happen. His love for the cinema almost gives me a guilty conscience." His most famous fan, Woody Allen, described Bergman as: "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera".
Bergman admired his contemporaries, too: "Among today's directors I'm of course impressed by Steven Spielberg and Scorsese, and Coppola, even if he seems to have ceased making films, and Steven Soderbergh - they all have something to say, they're passionate, they have an idealistic attitude to the filmmaking process. Soderbergh's Traffic is amazing. Another great couple of examples of the strength of American cinema is American Beauty and Magnolia."
However, he was never afraid to take pot-shots at critical darlings, saying of Orson Welles: "For me he's just a hoax. It's empty. It's not interesting. It's dead. Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of - is all the critics' darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it's a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie's got is absolutely unbelievable."
And Jean-Luc Godard: "I've never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a fucking bore. He's made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin, féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mind-numbingly boring."
Fiercely honest, and often laugh-out-loud funny, Bergman's gloomy reputation was ill-deserved - despite his admission that his films depressed even him - and he will be sorely missed by all in the industry.
The date of the funeral has not yet been set. It will be attended by a close group of friends and family.
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