Seven months into 2007 and five, count them, five major filmmakers have passed away. I still remember when Kubrick passed, and Alan J. Pakula, but this has been a devastating year for film lovers. Granted, most of these men were in their eighties, but still, the deaths of Altman, Sembene, Yang (who was only 59!), and now Bergman and Antonioni in two days time, leaves an indelible and lasting mark. I remember back to watching Blow Up during my freshman year in film school at UCSB, and how frustrated, intrigued, taken aback, and finally how much I fell in love with the film, opening my eyes to the possibilities just beyond the shadows. The same with Bergman, and his masterpieces Wild Strawberries and Winter Light, two films which resonate deep seeded obsession with memories and regrets. And Altman, The Long Goodbye and McCabe and Mrs Miller standing tall amongst an epic scope of great work. Sembene I’ve recently only began to experience, but Black Girl seems to me the quintessential film of Third World Cinema in the 1960’s. And finally, and maybe most saddening, Edward Yang, whose Yi Yi is the only film of his I’ve seen, yet it might be the most beautiful cinematic experience for me of the last ten years. It’s tough enough putting words to the screen when commenting on difficult, fascinating artists at work, but it’s even harder when faced with the fact you’ll never see a new film by them again. Goodbye all, and thanks for all you’ve done.

– GH

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