Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Sawdust & Tinsel"

He escrito un artículo sobre "Sawdust & Tinsel" -en español la tradujeron como "Noche de circo", era mucho más bonito lo de "Serrín y oropel"- para una revista de cine escandinavo que aquí copio y pego.

“Sawdust & Tinsel” (‘Gycklarnas afton’, 1953) –is one of my favorite Bergman’s films. It had its origin in a Bergman’s dream. He displayed an extraordinary cinematography in this intensive and brutal, bizarre and burlesque film. The first minutes could have been the minutes of a Fellini’s film too, if it wouldn’t have been for the filming way, the cold atmosphere. Bergman show us the circus life scarcity and decadence as in “The clowns” (1970) by the Italian director.
Alma -Frost the clown’s wife-, is undressing in front of a bunch of soldiers. Frost, followed by the circus troupe, goes to make her back. Frost the clown is such a weak, poor thing. He swims into the sea to rescue her. She seems to be ashamed, as if she would have been out of her mind for a moment. Everybody is laughing at them. Frost is crying. The shabby make up makes them look grotesque. Frost carries his wife walking barefoot on the stones at the rhythm of a drum. Finally, Frost falls down defeated and they have to carry his body too. It is so intense his master performance. This first part of the film reminds the mute cinema. No much is needed to say but to see.
Alberti Circus is having a hard time. They have left their costumes behind. They have a bear which starves… Albert -the Circus director- dreams with America, where he says circus is a good business.
Bergman’s interest in the theatre began early, when he was only a child. Some episodes in “Sawdust & Tinsel” are performed in a theatrical way more than in a cinematographic way. There are two main themes on the movie: the theatre versus the circus and the humiliation. The self-humiliation, others humiliation, is like a thin thread that connect the characters.

The arrogant theatre director does not hesitate to humiliate the circus director when he swallowed his pride asking to borrow some costumes -knowing they are just a bit upper class than them. The film –as it always happens with Bergman cinema- has a powerful, meaningful script. The theatre director makes a comparison between both worlds: “You live in caravans. We stay in filthy hotels. We make art. You make artifice. The lowest of us would spit on the best of you. Why? You only risk your life. We risk our pride.” He goes on with the description of both worlds adding theatre has a shabby elegance, painted faces, pretentious speech… meanwhile, circus smells stable, carries diseases, lice and fleas.

Another of the intense moments of the film comes when Frost came in Albert’s caravan after he has been driven mad cause Anna’s infidelity. Albert has conflicting emotions between his chaotic passion –the circus-, and the security -a respectable life. His feelings are represented by the two women of his life: Anne and Agda.
Then, it comes the turn of a highly theatrical representation of this two circus characters inside the caravan. Both of them are sick of the circus, both are drunk.

Albert: “But now I am going to rise up and do something worthy of a human being”.

Frost (the clown): “You mean kill yourself?”

A: “I didn’t say that!”

F: “You ought to shoot the bear. It’s in a bad way.”

A: “Yes, I ought to shoot the bear.”

F: “And don’t forget to shoot my wife too. It would be an act of kindness.”

A: “Just five or six people… I should shoot you too, my dear Frost!”

F: “But I have my poor old dad to care for!”

A: “Are you afraid?”

F: “No! Yes, I am.”

A: “Afraid to die?”

F: “Yes.”

A: “Well, I’m not afraid of death.”

F: “Then, kill yourself!”

A: “No! It’s hot in here!”

F: “Yes, let’s get out! Open the door!”

The film got mixed reviews and some hard criticism. Bergman said: “I want audiences to feel, to sense my films. This to me is much more important than their understanding”. And this is a film to feel.

Aquí el link al artículo.
Aquí el link a todos los artículos del #3 monográfico sobre Ingmar Bergman de Cinema Scandinavia.
Aquí se pueden descargar todas las revistas, sólo 3 hasta la fecha.


  1. oh! lo primero es felicitarla, yprh! muy bien! publicando en revistas escandinavas... bravo!!
    no he visto esta película. le tengo un pavor a bergman que no le cuento. habré visto... una y no sé si la he visto entera. no, he visto alguna más. sea como sea, tendré que meterme en esta peli.
    he entendido casi toda la crítica, lo que me congratula con mi inglés de pan mascao.
    felicidades otra vez.

    1. Muy amable, gracias.
      Pavor a Bergman...? Dios mío, ¿cómo es eso? Una vez me dijo que Fassbinder le daba miedo, puedo entenderlo. Pero, ¿Bergman?? Es de lo más lúcido de la historia del cine. Si le tiene pavor, le recomiendo "Fanny y Alexander", es de las más fáciles, aunque dura la tira, y es imposible no disfrutarla.

    2. secretos de un matrimonio, esa la he visto entera. y la adaptación que hizo de la flauta mágica. y creo haber visto algo de el séptimo sello.
      va, fanny y alexander, me la apunto a ver.

  2. Uuuuh! crítica de cine!! Pues dentro de poco empieza el festival de cine de Shanghai, pero no sé qué ponen...