I can't think of anything more appropriate to write about today than the near-simultaneous passing of two cinema giants: Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, who oddly died on the very same day. If the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper was dubbed "the day the music died," then July 30, 2007 has to be the day that movies died. I'm sure that the web and newspapers around the world will be filled with obituaries and tributes, but I can't help feeling a little angry; where were all you people when these guys were alive?
I consider myself lucky that, as a reviewer, I was able to write about new movies from both of these masters -- all released on 400 screens or less -- notably Antonioni's Beyond the Clouds (released in 1999), his segment in Eros (2005) and Bergman's Saraband (2005), but I couldn't help noticing that my enthusiasm for these projects was a bit lonely. I wrote just a few weeks ago about how the movie industry as a general rule tends to focus on the young at the expense of the old. Over the years I've seen eight Antonioni films and fifteen Bergman films. That's not many in the grand scheme of things, but I wonder just how many have seen any at all?