We, Americans of the 21st century live in a country with a mass-cultural ideology that people must fight with their aging to death, while at the same time more and more people find themselves in a situation, when it is more and more difficult to survive and be attended by adequate medical care. They simultaneously have to be mobilized to resist death and agree with slow deterioration of their everyday life. But one of the nameless/anonymous characters of Bergman’s film – the hotel room service waiter (Hakan Jahnberg) is, obviously not encouraged to treat his old age as an enemy and at the same time is not in danger of becoming fodder for austerity policies.

Being saved from the contrast depicted above, this human being, an old man, has the existential luxury to look at death (itself already looking at him from the narrow opening of draperies on his window) immanently philosophically (it’s not by chance that he even looks a little like Bertrand Russell). Yes, this “simple” person lives with nobility of soul, with dignity of his self-awareness. His position towards non-violent death is as natural as it’s sophisticated.

His ephemeral but “immortal” friendship with little Johan (Jorgen Lindstrom) has an amazing pedagogical sense – he indirectly (existentially) transfers to the child his respect for natural death and for this reason for life, while we indirectly – ideologically are prevented from getting that what is friendly to our mortality can be friendly to our vitality. But we’re so afraid of and hate our mortality, and therefore lost the ability to live – to allow ourselves to live we need to justify our life with our “successes” – wealth, profits, career, high place in the social hierarchy.

The old man shares with Johan the old photos of himself when he was about Johan’s age and when he was middle-aged, as, probably “Johan’s father today”. He shows to the boy nothing more “interesting” than several photos (whole life in several photos). May be, today’s kid of Johan age, spoiled by the “high tech” toys, will not even look at them.

The old porter is pointing at himself in the photo, near the coffin of his grandmother or mother

He is pointing at himself standing with, probably, his wife in front of their house

In some moment, the old man identifies with Johan’s gaze, and then he feels himself living again – through saying farewell to people he loved and to his own life

After giving away to Johan his photos – a gesture of, as if giving his past life to the future in the hands of new generations (Johan automatically took these photos with himself when he left), the old man is overtaken by the feeling of his destiny. Friends by a common existence, as if met by chance in time, run into each other again several times – the room service attendant is “always” inside the hotel and he is ready to entertain Johan with improvised puppets. His performances are always full of enigmatic meanings, but Johan will have enough time in his life to remember and understand them.

Posted om May 26, 2016 – Ingmar Bergman’s “The Silence” (1963) – Silence of the Human Soul and Noise of Technology Versus Meaningful Communication: The Last Part of Bergman’s Religious Trilogy (“Through Glass Darkly” – 1960, “Winter Light” – 1961-1962, And “The Silence” – 1962) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on June 9, 2016 – “The Silence” by Ingmar Bergman (1963) by Acting-Out Politics