It was many, many years ago that I first saw an Ingmar Bergman film. Not one. About four of them. I was 15 or 16.
Didn't take a shine to too many of them. I was too young, I guess. But it was around the age when I was figuring out cinema and had an idea of what I should watch and what I should not watch. Directors from around the world fall in the typical compartments a regular Bengali boy creates for himself around those impressionable and formative years - take it from me.
But I remember liking Wild Strawberries even then. Not so much the rest, as I have mentioned. Don't even remember which ones I saw apart from Wild Strawberries. It of course remains Bergman's easiest film to bring close to your heart. Even after all these years and having re-watched Wild Strawberries along with many other great films like Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, Scenes From A Marriage, This Can't Happen Here, Monika, Smiles Of A Summer Night and many others, names of which slip my mind at the moment. Oh, and The Seventh Seal of course. The greatest of them all! And Cries And Whispers, which I possess but haven't gotten around to watching yet.
Going though his filmography now on IMDB, I realise he has made more than 40 films. Obviously all of them can't be great and there's a big likelihood that the ones I have seen are among his best anyway (the usual recommendations and festivals and stuff). But to me he is among those few directors who has only made great films. How strange that sounds, doesn't it?
And what I don't like in cinema per se is something that I oh so totally like in Bergman's cinema - the lack of stylisation. Strange again, but that's Bergman as far as I am concerned.