|The booklet of The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman.|
Probably the event of 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival, on Saturday night at the Ford Amphitheatre the musical group Sparks (Kimono My House) and film director Guy Madden (The Saddest Music in the World) presented The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman.
Based on an original story, written and staged by Sparks' Ron and Russell Mael and directed by Madden, the performance was based on the eponymous 2009 album by Sparks, which chronicles the imaginary travels and temptations of Swedish auteur, Ingmar Bergman (Wild Strawberries), on an imaginary trip to Hollywood, California.
It's 1950-something and a Hollywood film mogul (Russell) has the idea to lure Bergman (Peter Franzen) to Tinseltown to direct blockbusters. He sends limos and ladies to help convince the practical quintessential existentialSwede. While black-clad minions move scenery in the shadows, back at his Hollywood headquarters Bergman tosses and turns on his upright, red-sheeted bed, all the while contemplating his next move or movie.
The brothers Mael are pitch-perfect (in every sense of the term) and Franzen turns in a great(ly), conflicted Bergman. Should the writer-director stay to enjoy the warm weather yet endure the torment of tourists, or return home to a chilly climate yet critical acclaim (a lá his Cannes Festival win for Smiles Of a Summer Night)?
With Warhol-colored images projected on the screen behind the action, this brilliant bit of deconstructed musical theater is like a hyper staged reading -- all of it worth a viewing, seeing, listening and experiencing.