Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Autumn Sonata

Photograph by Hallie Cohen
Autumn Sonata was a film by Ingmar Bergman. It starred Ingrid Berman and Liv Ullmann and it was literally Ingrid Bergman’s autumn sonata to the extent that it was the last film she ever made. Autumn is usually associated with death and endings; naturally it’s the time of the year when vegetation dies and yet there is a form of autumn that is like a premature baby, an autumn that arrives extravagantly and sometimes too soon and there are unfortunate souls who reach the autumn of their lives before it’s their time, people whose lives are curtailed just as they are beginning to come into their own. In Vermont, Autumn is almost miraculous to the extent that it comes like a robber almost over night.  But its coming is like one of those supernovas, whose death is heralded by a great explosion of energy. No death is as demonstrative as autumn in Vermont. The burst of colors is almost like a blossoming. Even though he was effectively talking about spring, Ezra Pound’s words in his great poem “Exiles Letter,” express the mixture of sadness and ebullience, of death and life, that characterizes Vermont in Autumn. “And if you ask how I regret that parting? It’s like the flowers falling at spring’s end, confused, whirled in a tangle." 

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