Michael Wood on Antonioni and Bergman

From the London Review of Books:

It’s too late to climb on the bandwagon now, and it wasn’t much of a bandwagon to start with. If cinephilia is dead, as Susan Sontag some time ago suggested it was, who cares about the simultaneous death of two cinéastes? Still, no reader of signs can resist a coincidence, the image of a meaning that can’t be there. Michelangelo Antonioni (born 1912) and Ingmar Bergman (born 1918) both died on 30 July 2007 – as if time, otherwise indifferent to plot and meaning, had something to say about the cinema.

But time, it turns out, seemed to say one thing and meant another. This was the end of an age, apparently, or would have been if the age represented by these directors had not ended quite a while ago. The whole world of slow-moving angst we associate with their best-known films is scarcely a memory. Panic and fanaticism are our modes, or the modes we think we need to deal with. But then the new coincidence reminds us of old coincidences, and invites us to think about what these echoes mean.

More here.