When I was much younger and still at the university, I, as nearly every other film student, was entranced by the work of top European directors, and—besides Federico Fellini—the top two directors in my Pantheon were Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. Both passed away this past week nearly simultaneously, as if there must be some balance scale for such talent in the universe.
To recount their lives and contributions to cinema would be repetitious. Suffice to say, the impact from both was considerably more than just "Seventh Seal" and "Blow-up". Most of Bergman's work seemed to show his preoccupation with death. But later in his life, he said, "When I was young, I was extremely scared of dying. But now I think it a very, very wise arrangement. It's like a light that is extinguished. Not very much to make a fuss about."
I remember one of my college roommates and a fellow film major, Justin McCann, who actually sat through Antonioni's Red Desert some 47 times. Personally, while I loved "Blow-up" and other films by this master, I actually never made it through this particular film even once. It frankly bored the hell out of me. Nonetheless, Antonioni was a great director. Antonioni was once asked, "In a world without film, what would you have made?" His one word response: "Film."
The light seems to flicker a bit at the end of the day while I am typing this. Perhaps—mixing all kinds of metaphors--it is the way the world tips its hat to these giants.