bergman week #4: flight of the conchords

Hells yeah. My week of watching, watching, pondering, writing and watching more Bergman keeps on chugging. Stay tuned as I mentally oil up and wrestle with cinema's great dead genius. Yeah, you just stay tuned for that.

Let's take stock of my Bergman week. On Monday I watched Persona, on Tuesday Smiles of a Summer Night, and on Thursday I baked braised sautéed enjoyed me some popcorn and went on a magical journey with Cries and Whispers. The verdict: so far I'm winning the pitched battle, the vicious contest that can have only one victor.

Tonight I thought I'd do something a little different and watch five episodes of Flight Of The Conchords. I wasn't sure if Ingmar Bergman had written the scripts or directed them or what, but I was pretty sure that I could look it up on the IMDB afterwards and find out the connection.

Right. I just finished going through the IMDB entry on the show, and to my great surprise, Flight is not an Ingmar Bergman screenplay directed by Liv Ullmann or Billie August. Colour me flabbergasted. All the elements are there: two New Zealand musicians trying to make in in New York City, lots of deadpan humour and understated scenes followed by pitch-perfect parodies of old music videos from the last twenty five years. It struck me, while I was watching the episode where Bret and Jermaine Jemaine adopt the rapper names Rhymenocerous and Hiphopotamus, that Flight was really the culmination of the ideas explored in The Seventh Seal.

Then it struck me that I was probably still drunk from the night before. A quick recollection of Bergman's work showed me that nothing could be farther from The Seventh Seal than an episode of Flight Of The Conchords. But if Bergman had helmed this quirky series, it would probably have been about two young Swedish women trying to make their way in a New York City (looking surprisingly like a deserted, rocky island in the North Atlantic).

Episode 1 - Ingrid and Elisabeth are riding a train. People get on and off. Some of the passengers are people from their past. Others are not quite human. The train never stops. There is no God.

Episode 2 - Apartment hunting! Ingrid and Elisabeth visit a series of cramped flats and eventually move in with a dying woman. They sit at her bedside and wait, all the while thinking back on their lives, trying to remember a time when they weren't gripped by anomie and a paralysis of the soul.

Episode 3 - Poverty. Ingrid and Elisabeth pool their money but still can't get in to see a movie. They merge into each other. A tarantula crawls across the screen. A nail is driven into a hand. Old people lie in hospital beds. Old filmstrips. Bergman filming the action. A boy. The end.

Understand, I kid because I love. Watch this next clip about robots.