The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Ingmar

Ingmar Bergman was, of course, a force of nature. His power over actors and actresses was legendary. So were his visions. Perhaps that’s what real genius is—dreaming dreams that have the power to mold and influence others in profound ways.

Bergman foreshadowed many of the psychic changes that took place in the 60’s and 70’s, although we did not see the connection, just felt it as a premonition. He was the first to have a vision of being human without sin, guilt, and fear and tried to let us know. This telling reached a crescendo in the film, Persona, in which he demonstrated that our boundaries are leaky, that our personalities are much more fluid than we imagine, and that under the right circumstances even core identities can be passed between persons like playing cards.

This is an uncomfortable truth, and perhaps it is this—dimly felt but greatly feared by conservative personalities—that created the huge backlash against hippies and led directly to the Bush years and the oligarchy we now have for a government. The reason is simple. It wasn’t so much that hippies challenged the boundaries of accepted values in politics and personal relationships, as that the idea of love, real love, strikes at the heart of the fascistic soul, sending out shockwaves of terror that can only be stilled through complete domination.