18 août 2007

Rosenbaum, Dreyer and cynicism (4)

Take a look at Rosenbaum's review (in Chicago Reader) for Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves and let me know if you can spot a pattern between Bergman and von Trier in regard to a certain NYT op-ed piece. Déjà vu? Also interesting to note the generational argument that Bordwell also lifts in his recent post. Here are the highlights :

"I'm far from sharing von Trier's cynicism, but I think there are many reasons for respecting it, most of them generational. People born before 1950 often had good reason to feel hopeful, at least during the late 60s and 70s; those born later -- von Trier was born in 1956-- had less and less reasons to feel that way. A massive backlash against the earlier generation's optimism is still going on, an indication of how potent the optimism was. (...) Within such a context, a passionate desire to create and even respect a character like Bess--however many stylistic and thematic paradoxes this entails--is clearly a heroic aspiration.
Von Trier may be deeply cynical, but he's less so than Terrence Rafferty was when he recentlly wrote in the New Yorker, "If Breaking the Waves becomes a hit, von Trier will have proved that the american audience for foreign films wants today precisely what it wanted in the boom years of the 50s and early 60s: nudity plus theology." A little later he added, "It's tempting to attribute the decline of the European film to the increase, over the years, in the erotic explicitness of American movies." When he says "decline" and "the European film" it can only be in the context of the American marketplace--specificaly the European films selected by American distributors, the tip of the iceberg Rafferty seems happy to accept as a whole. Apparently he believes the only reason films are made in Europe is to satisfy Americans who want to see tits and ass mixed in with their theology, and if these needs can't be met, European filmmakers might as well han over their assignments to "pure" American artists working free of such pressures. (...)

I can't recall much nudity or theology in European movies such as Mon Oncle, Breathless, The 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, Last Year in Marienbad, Eclipse, Ashes and Diamonds, or [Bergman's] The Magician--to cite only a few of my favorites that did well during those "boom years" (alongside such commercial flops as Pickpocket, Lola and Dreyer's Gertrud). (...)

I can certainly understand Rafferty's anger at the sarcasm and falsity underlying von Trier's approach--since I become angry every time I think of Breaking the Waves "replacing" Ordet (though that's surely a false syllogism). (...)

A less sympathetic reading of this flexibility might be that von Trier is "too cynical to believe even his own cynicism"--as Andrew Sarris once said of Billy Wilder. But I would prefer to regard Breaking the Waves as a search for belief that acknowledges the land mines separating a 70s consciousness from that goal, a search that burrows ever deeper into irony and ambiguity without reaching the sincerity it strives for--but without collapsing into the nihilism that I see all around me in commercial fare. (...)

Is Breaking the Waves a religious film? I doubt that von Trier knows the answer to that question--just as I doubt that Dreyer would have known the answer if he'd been asked the same question about Ordet. A vast universe of thought, feeling, and artistry divides the two films, made over 40 years apart, but this uncertainty is the point at which both of them become interesting."

Jonathan Rosenbaum in "Mixed Emotions" : review of Breaking the Waves, Chicago Reader, Dec. 6, 1996. Also in Essential Cinema (2004), chapter "special problems"

Now I can agree with Rosenbaum's 1996 reasoning. Thank you for correcting what sounded wrong in the 2007 NYT.
Though it seems that anyone making films around Denmark must be compared to Dreyer... I see the connection between Breaking the Waves and Ordet, but Dreyer is not the end all argument to judge a film in particular. Not every cinema has to be about Dreyer, has it? We certainly could look past this aspect to focus on the film itself. What is the connection between Bergman and Lars von Trier?

My unanswered comment at the Chicago Reader's blog [EDIT: Rosenbaum replied on his blog since]:

"Why would Bergman's use of "torture" on his fictional characters be different, in principle, to Dreyer's (or Bresson's)?
Jonathan, in your Essential Cinema essay, you seem to be more generous towards Lars Von Trier's cynicism in Breaking the Waves, than you are for the entire oeuvre of Bergman. You reckon there are creative, interesting ways to deal with misantropy.
If the debate is about the content and moral purpose of such sadism, then we shouldn't stigmatize "misanthropy" in itself, and focus on Bergman's hollowness (if that's the case) rather than "sadism" (which is a cliché).
I don't know what you think of these following auteurs, but on the specific case of "misantropic treatment" what degrees separate the "cynicism" of, say, Bresson (Balthazar, Une Femme Douce, L'argent, Le Diable Probablement), Kaurismaki, Herzog, Cassavetes, Elaine May (Mickey and Nicky), Peter Watkins, Alan Clarke, Polanski, Kubrick, Kurosawa (Dodesukaden, The Lower Depths) , Kim Ki-duk...
If you admire any of these, what justifies their harassment of fictional characters that doesn't work with Bergman (and I think he's at least greater than a few on the list)."
Could someone answer me?

Rosenbaum v Bergman (3)

(Continuation from posts 1 and 2)

I'm having trouble to finish my commentary because I can't wrap my head around his talking points. They sound self-contradictory and we could track down quotes from his past articles where old Rosenbaum disagrees with new Rosenbaum. Nothing really makes sense, and I need someone to explain it all.
Although he knew what he was doing when he wrote that (he called it upon himself), I feel bad about continuing this investigation because Jonathan is understandably worn out by all the heat he got... And I still admire the cause he defends. I just can't accept that he would point finger to a scapegoat in order to raise attention for his victimized champions. In the end this is about the lack of wide public fame of Dreyer and Bresson, because within the private circles of auteurists, scholars and cinephiles, none of these masters have been forgotten. His only rational to apply different standards to various parts of cinema is to oppose favorite auteurs to least favorite auteurs.
I agree that it's a shame that other masters' death have been overlooked, but that's not a reason to scorn Bergman because he's lucky to get more posthumous attention. The mainstream attention is elective and lacunary... so what? We're not going to change the mass by burning idols... Rosenbaum's wrath goes against the mainstream cultural awareness, yet all his accusation are directed at Bergman himself, who had no business in moving and shaking public trends...

"Of course, if anyone wants to argue that Bergman deeply altered our sense of film language and/or had fresh things to say about the modern world to the same degree as these other filmmakers, I'm all ears. The article is meant to stir the pot, not close the lid. (...) I'm perfectly happy to listen to counter-arguments defending the beauty, seriousness, authenticity, and/or importance of Bergman's thoughts and emotions and what they contributed to our own thoughts and feelings. Maybe Bergman DID have something to teach us all about the Death of God." J. Rosenbaum (at a_film_by)
So the burden of proof rests onto Bergman's defenders, as if we had to justify ourselves. Before to bring counter-arguments, we'd like to see solid arguments in the first place. It was his job to at least sketch out a potent framework, an insightful angle that seriously puts into question Bergman's merits. He didn't. That's not a fair debate.

"I'd just like to hear more about (...) what he did to enrich (as opposed to confirm or ratify) other people's views of the world, hopefully in terms that I don't find overly familiar or glib or boring. All of which I find in some of the larger claims made for Bergman that I've been hearing for almost half a century. This is what my piece was reacting to." J. Rosenbaum (at Scanners)
Now he wants us to write a book-length appreciation of Bergman's legacy with never-heard-before ideas, to disprove his 1000 words-long unsubstenciated gratuitous mood piece...
This is very difficult to engage with this polemic without starting from scratch to debunk the classic shortcomings reproached to any controversial filmmaker. The tabula rasa proposed to re-evaluate every steps of the oeuvre makes Bergman an exception in the auteurist realm, where we ought to demonstrate all over again his legit signature and the cinematic value of his style.
It doesn't seem to me that he's shown a willingness to open and encourage this debate.

If at least he would distanciate himself from this shaky article, I could reconcile his usual sound arguments with this one-time provocational rant. But he's in denial. All he's been doing lately was to justify his editorial line through formal limitations (he blames the NYT editor, the word count, the imposed timing, the NYT hype, the short notice, the --not so forgotten-- Bergman fandom...) instead of backing up or revisiting his allegations.
He's on defensive mode and doesn't make the discussion easy to engage for his contenders, raising the stake of legit dissent to hard-to-meet requirements. Now he has seen Fanny And Alexander, he asks his detractors to watch both versions, the theatrical and the long TV version before they could dare to dispute his claims...

I appreciate how Jonathan took the time to respond to the attacks on several blogs, replying to Ebert, Bordwell and the guys at a_film_by. Though all my comments (on his blog in particular) have been ignored so far [EDIT: he's replied since, see the comments in my next post]. I thus undersand my response is not welcome to stir his pot. He hasn't developped further any of his arguments either, patiently waiting for detractors to come up with all the ground work to re-demonstrate that Bergman is not a minor auteur. Even if it is flagrant, it is not as quick and easy than to ruin a reputation with a few punchlines.

Then again, he digs his own hole (about Bordwell's take on his op-ed piece) :
"Although I haven't yet made it to the end of David Bordwell's piece apart from skimming it (I tend to get bored when he writes long, no matter how accurate he often is), I agree with most of what he said in the first two-thirds or so. I even emailed him to agree with him that nothing I was arguing was especially new. I also agreed with his statements about generations. (...)
All perfectly true. And I do value a lot of David's work for these reasons. But as a nonacademic, I have to admit that there are times when I'm more interested in reading writers who are factually unreliable but do more to stimulate my imagination and sometimes do even more to change the way I watch films. The classic instance of this: Noel Burch." J. Rosenbaum (at Chicago Reader)
Are we to understand that his (factually unreliable) op-ed piece is meant to "stimulate the imagination"? I wonder how trashing unsubstentially any critically acclaimed master can change the way we watch films... since it's what any uneducated viewer could do when they are bored by a challenging work of art. He thought that the NYT was the right platform to further blur the line between gratuitous slander and educated, analytical criticism. Therefore degrading the level of film criticism in the public mind.
Bordwell took the time to elaborate a thought-out response to some of the challenges thrown out in the NYT, yet Rosenbaum doesn't even care to read Bordwell's post from end to end??? Did he want to open a debate or not?

Next : Rosenbaum, Dreyer and cynicism (4)

09 août 2007

Rosenbaum v Bergman (2)

Continuation from first post (here):

I knew Rosenbaum didn't like Bergman as much as I did, because he prefered to have 19 Godard films in his Top1000 Personal Favorites and could only squeeze in 3 Bergman's (Sawdust And Tinsel, The Magician, and Persona, incidentally they are the ones cited in his article to point to Bergman's flaws, that's how much he loves them). Our tastes are opposite regarding this pair of auteurs as I would reverse the numbers (20 Bergman's and 3 Godard's). Ironically, if we replace "Bergman" with "Godard" in this op-ed piece, I would probably agree with everything he says about the intellectual hype, the idolatry around JLG, the ego, the absence of form invention, the fakery of his gimmicks, the fading of his aura, the overrated canonization. And that's bogus. It's so easy to give a caricatural overview actually. I can't wait for Godard's funeral... ;)

From the outrage of seeing such a wide coverage of obituaries in the mainstream press, Rosenbaum can't stand that this type of (popular) cinema would be associated any longer with "art cinema", the pure cinema (non theatrical, in Bazin's terms) thus redraws the line between him and the rest of hardline auteurs who never met critical or public success. Obviously Bergman's fame is too suspect for the low-budget, unpopular camp of obscur artists. Excommunication is inevitable. Bergman, "founding father" of "boring art films", must be excluded from his own family. If he gets so much love after his death, he can't be boring enough.
Basically Rosenbaum tells the world : "All of you who came to art films with Bergman and found it entertaining, well, you haven't seen boring yet, this isn't the real thing, art is not that easy to watch, I'm talking about Dreyer and Bresson, they couldn't entertain an audience to save their lives. If you have fun, if you see boobies, if you can follow the story... you're not seeing art, and I don't even call it cinema!" (sarcastic dramatization intended)
And I doubt insulting people who made the effort to go to Bergman has any chance to open Dreyer and Bresson to a wider audience (if that was the intended goal)... This baseless condemnation is not even going to help the "cause" anyway.
For the record, let me say that I do love all three, Bergman, Bresson and Dreyer! I can see a difference of style, ambition and achievements between them, but it's only a global estimation of all of their respective caracteristics (and my subjective taste) that would help me to rank them (if I had to). I wouldn't dismiss one just because he works differently from the other. I wouldn't use the quality of one to gauge all the others. I wouldn't oppose them. The referential standard should be external to the trio, a vision of cinema as an art, not as the embodiement of one particular auteur's craft, for all others to be compared to.

"Rosenbaum", "New York Times", "Bergman" : 3 reasons (each alone would suffice) why there shouldn't be any fallacious rhetorics in this article! There are more credible ways to propose a re-evaluation of a long time resident at the cinema pantheon. If it's ok to question Bergman's authority, we could legitimately question Rosenbaum's authority as well, right?
Though he has since posted a few needed clarifications (on a_film_by, at the Chicago Reader blog, and at Scanners) :

  • "It's true that I praise Bergman as an entertainer and compare him to George Cukor (which to me is no insult)"
  • "I'm certainly not trying to say that Bergman is beneath anyone's interest"
  • "Welles could even alter our sense of film language while remaining a fluid storyteller, so I'm not even arguing that these values are always mutually exclusive"
  • "Bergman's taste for silhouettes moving across horizons" was a compliment
  • "Bergman's 'seeming contempt' for digital video in Saraband isn't a sin in my book but a plus"
  • "Bergman is not a poor director"

Wasn't it Rosenbaum who reproached to Farber we couldn't tell a compliment from a blame in his criticism? This is the same situation here. Considering the controversy raised on a_film_by and on the blogosphere, I'm not alone being confused. If Rosenbaum had to explain that he didn't believe Bergman was bad there was something wrong with the overall irony in his writing.

What annoys me most is that his argumentation mixes legitimate issues that become dubious when combined. 1) Disputing canon, 2) Observing social trends and 3) Comparing auteurs. We could argue all year long about who the greastest filmmaker of all time is, rank them artificially, number their works, mesure their popularity... but in the end subjective popularity and critical evaluation only overlap by coincidence not by causality. Everything he describes (about overblown cult, overrated acclaim, under/overexposition), could be said of Bresson, Dreyer, Tarkovsky, Welles, Godard, Tarantino, Spielberg... given the proper timeframe and geographical context. Are we looking at the big picture or at minor historical incidents?

    "My reason for being rude was to bring up what I see as either limitations in his work or limitations in the way his work is usually received and discussed"
    Rosenbaum thinks Bergman's position in canons and pertinence in today's film culture should be re-evaluated. OK. We could blame academics and critics for overrating him. We could reconsider the reasons why history has given him so much importance THEN, and why it is obsolete NOW.
    What we can argue about are the critical judgments, the premise and limitations of certain theoretical concepts (such as "auteurism", "art film", "modern cinema"), whether Bergman's individual films or entire oeuvre belong or not to such or such label, whether such labels grant/deny him a seat in the pantheon.
    But we can NOT use a starting point nobody would agree on (the alleged fact that Bergman is forgotten) and use it as a common ground for the discussion. Reality is not debatable. And this fact is not even relevant, and never will be, to define someone's historical importance.
    We could compare the strengh and weakness of some auteurs. We could compare all sorts of dichotomic arguments : classic/modern, narrative/experimental, sophisticated/rough image, stylized/naturalist performances, auteur/acteur-driven stories, politicized/fictional inspiration... but to assume there is a consensual agreement about the hierarchy of these aspects of cinema that justifies a place in the canon requires at least a demonstration because I doubt everybody will agree to set the standards on this proposition.
  2. FAME
    Rosenbaum thinks that Bergman's popularity is undeserved, that his audience likes his films for the wrong reasons. OK. He speaks of "availability", "uncontestable major figure" (among mainstream obituaries), "Google hits", "vitality", "visibility", "outsized reputation", "appeal", "New York audiences"... this is a rhetoric in reference to his public image which is unrelated to an academic estimation of his historic importance. The 2 phenomena are non sequitur, yet a causal tie underlies throughout the article. Fame has nothing to do with artistic authority. Bad artists can foster a huge fandom without any trace of talent.
    Rosenbaum declares he meant to emphasis "fashion" (Bergmania trend) for "its immediate impact" (on NYT readers). It's fine to highlight a sociological study on the good/bad reasons why cinema gets incorporated in the general culture at various levels. But the main issue with the piece is that it blames a social phenomenon on an academic canon, and vice-versa.
    "Part of what I was trying to get at in the article was the interesting paradox that Bresson and Dreyer were widely regarded as beyond the pale in the 60s, when Bergman was at the height of his fame, and that audiences are now beginning to catch up with what they were doing while we're less likely to understand more things about his work now than we did in the 60s or 70s." (a_film_by)
    Oh the irony! So what? How does this matter other than for the historical anecdote? Are we talking about how famous an auteur can get, or how high an auteur can climb the canon?
    Rosenbaum likes and prefers Dreyer and Bresson, so be it. He should write us a great book to celebrate them instead of blaming Bergman and complaining how the rest of the world doesn't share his personal taste. This hatchet job looks like getting rid of the top contender in order to undermine the competition and leave more room to the runner-ups (he would prefer to see at the top). We all have underdog favorites in our individual pantheon. But we have to realize that a global establishment is a collective consensus that doesn't match each individual pantheon perfectly. There will always be someone in the canon we don't like and it doesn't matter, because the canon doesn't represent us individualy, but a conservative highest common denominator.
"(...) I don't think history can ever be repeated -- either in film history or in the history of film reception and film appreciation. That's why I can only laugh when one of my colleagues remarks that none of the recent films can "duplicate" or "match" or "equal" or "approximate" the masterpieces or classics of the past, because my own definition of the singularity of a major film, tautologically speaking, is that it's singular."
Jonathan Rosenbaum in Essential Cinema (2004) -- Introduction.

Why confront auteurs in deathmatches if their works are singular?

To be continued ... (part 3)

05 août 2007

Rosenbaum's prejudice in Bergman obituary

Bergman aside (we'll get to that later), Jonathan Rosenbaum's contrarian reaction to this filmmaker's legacy (article in NYT, August 4th) only demonstrates a selective memory, dishonest arguments, double standard principles and the poorest clichés on art cinema.
"Almost every statement in this rather shallow article could be challenged on the ground of irrelevance, biased vision,unfairness, questionable reasoning or sometimes even plain silliness. I am surprised that this comes from a critic of J. R.'s stature"
Jean-Pierre Coursodon (on a_film_by)

Let's just do that (for those who only skimmed through the article) :
  1. Deception #1 : "Like many of his films, “The Magician” hasn’t been widely available here for ages." (Anecdotale Fallacy)

    Sure, from a filmography of 62 films, only few made it to DVD yet, but that's more than most auteurs have (including Bresson or Dreyer with a smaller filmography, respectively 14 and 23). Who are we kidding?
    He corrects on a_film_by : "I agree that many Bergman films are out on DVD, even though it's obviously a much smaller fraction of the whole work than one finds with Dreyer and Bresson."
    Only 34 of his films are available on DVD at FNAC !
  2. Deception #2 : "His works are seen less often in retrospectives and on DVD than those of Carl Dreyer and Robert Bresson" (Unrepresentative Sample Fallacy)

    Does Jonathan Rosenbaum (JR) assume the American distribution market alone defines the worldwide relevance of an auteur? I considered JR as the less insular of American critics until now.
  3. Manipulation #1 : DVD availability and Academic syllabus (hic et nunc) are the absolute reference to measure the long term relevance of an artist in film history. (Appeal to Authority Fallacy)

    JR usually protests the contrary when defending his overlooked champions (Burnett, Tashlin, Tarr, Ivens in his book Essential Cinema). Not to mention the entire history of film criticism proven wrong time and again after a misguided disdain (La Règle du Jeu, Lola Montes, Welles, Ford, Hitchcock, Hawks, Nick Ray, Ozu, Kurosawa) or premature appraisal (Duvivier, Autan-Lara, Delannoy, Clément, Wyler, Stevens, Zinnemann...). Of course JR didn't forget that, so why even trying to push THAT argument to demonstrate anything about an auteur's stature?
    I can't comment on the presence of Bergman in Academia, especially not in the USA, but I doubt it's true worldwide, and there are probably other possible, practical explanations than a fall in disgrace. Persona, The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Cries and Whispers are often cited by film scholars and published in referencial books.
    Even if it was true, we could only regret that one filmmaker is forgotten. The idea to rejoice about certain films being left out of film studies is a sad thought, and a shame for the diversity of cinema culture as a whole. Why would an ecclectic critic like Rosenbaum use this argument to establish a false "common wisdom"?
  4. Simplification #1 : "Bergman isn’t being taught in film courses or debated by film buffs with the same intensity as Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard" (Unfair comparison)

    What JR disputes is that Bergman is "an uncontestable major figure in cinema" and he uses (greater) major figures to diminish his stature in comparison. But *if* he's inferior to these names (which is itself a whole aesthetical debate and certainly not a given), it doesn't mean that he's not part of these major figures. I can think of many mediocre films by these 3 masters that don't mesure up to Bergman's consistant oeuvre. Why even oppose masters against eachothers as if the unique quality of one excluded the other unique quality of the other.
  5. Manipulation #2 : "two master filmmakers [Dreyer and Bresson] widely scorned as boring and pretentious during Mr. Bergman’s heyday"

    Bergman has always had a "boring" label attached to his cinema, though maybe not by the same public. But JR uses references of various reliability, eras and demographics (DVD industry, obituaries, film buffs or Google) to assert Bergman's reputation, then he equates that directly to the critical pan of a specific time and place for Dreyer and Bresson as if there was a valid correlation to find in such a nebulous comparison.
    Fame v. Critical appreciation (= equivalency?) .
    We can clearly read between the lines that JR's actual grudge is not Bergman (whom he kindly aknowledges some talent), but the circumstances that have given Bergman the celebrity his favorites (Bresson and Dreyer) deserved. Well, Bergman is not responsible for the blindness and favoristism of critics at large and the audience throughout ages, no more than he should feel guilty about the decent fame his films earned (within the Art Film league, which is definitely smaller than the Mainstream league!).
  6. Truism #1 : Obituaries are unanimously respectful, admirative and complacent.

    An obituary is a boring job, you remind people who the person was and what achievements of theirs are left in History. Have the "socially aware adults" lost any sense of respect for someone's funeral memory? Bergman's thunder had to be shared with Antonioni already!
    It's not an opportunity to spit on someone's grave, for curtesy sake! Bergman only made 1 film in the last 10 years. JR believes mourning has lasted long enough (5 days) to begin right away with the free bashing. If the biased adoration had lasted months after his death, I could understand JR's impatience to balance with a dissenting view. Sure, every proclaimed master can and should be scrutinized and desacralized, no question about that, but each thing in its own time.
    It's not like if JR had only this one time soapbox-opportunity to seize, in order to restore the truth... he's got a weekly column for himself in the Chicago Reader (among other platforms). [EDIT: Rosenbaum corrected this assumption of mine on his blog]
  7. Manipulation #3 : "If you Google 'Ingmar Bergman' and 'great,' you get almost six million hits." (Appeal to Popularity Fallacy)

    Now JR gets his audience poll from an internet search engine, with a laughable query! (it doesn't even mean that the adjective "great" on these pages is associated to Bergman, or that these pages shine a positive light on him. One could think of "great failure/disappointment" for example...) How come someone could publish THAT in the New York Times???
    If you like silly populist statistics, here's IMDb top250 The Seventh Seal makes #81 (18,700 votes!) and Wild Strawberries #158 (10,460 votes), Dreyer (film with most votes : 6,600 votes) and Bresson (film with most votes : 2,000 votes) are nowhere to be found. What does it prove about their respective popularity among IMDb voters?
  8. Simplification #2 : Bergman circa 50ies reduced to superficial clichés only the shameless populist reviewers would dare to mention : sexiness, nudity, beautiful actresses. (Caricature)
  9. Manipulation #4 : Blaming Bergman for his imitator (Woody Allen) and his incidental/local fan base crowd (which is assumed unworthy). (Guilt by Association Fallacy).
  10. Deception # 3 : "Mr. Bergman’s star has faded" (Begging the Question Fallacy)

    Evidences produced were false or deceiving so how is that conclusive? It's not because you say it or wish it that it's a reality. Here are some surveys showing that not everybody has forgotten about Bergman yet... (I'm not suggesting these consensual/local/timely polls represent a solid foundation to determine someone's universal pertinence but apparently they contradict JR's sense of reality)
    - The 13th Most Influential Director of All Time (2002 MovieMaker Poll)
    - Survey of Filmmakers: Top 25 Directors (2005 poll by The Film Journal)
    - The Top 100 Directors #7 (They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? December 2006) 11 films ranked in the top1000 (for comparison : Dreyer #13, 5 films in top1000 / Bresson #16, 9 films in top1000)

There is an ongoing debate around the article at a_film_by where Jonathan Rosenbaum responds to certain accusations.

Zach Campbell at Elusive Lucidity also debunks some of JR's fallacies.

Jonathan Lapper at Cinema Styles does the same breaking down job to uncover the fallacies.

And Girish shares his reservations too.

There are probably many things to denote about Bergman's stylistic (arguable) achievements and content (arguable) value, but serious critics shouldn't have to resort to fallacies and other smoke screens to put a critical point across in the hope to confuse and persuade an ignorant readership. This is low standard criticism in my opinion (for whatever it's worth).

Next we'll look into the critical accusations...