Warmly appealing, indispensable review of all his films by Swedish filmmaker Bergman as he sits down to look at each one, many of which he's not seen for 30 or 40 years. Bergman begins by dismissing 1973's Bergman on Bergman—in which he answered questions put to him by three Swedish interviewers—as being full of defensive lies by himself. Fans familiar with that work may be put off by the early pages here, as well as by other stretches, which wobble with head-stuff and as writing are inferior to the more keenly detailed verbalizations in the earlier work the director now intends to outstrip. Today's Bergman has less to say about the nuts and bolts of his filmmaking, focusing instead on motives for his screenplays and on how he wove threads of his own character through different characters from film to film. His strongest moments come when pointing out his failures, fears, and shortsightedness in various works, huge humiliations he brought on himself by not following his first instincts—sometimes by settling too quickly for a smooth surface, at other times by deluding himself for years that he'd created strong works (The Serpent's Egg, Shame, and others) that he now joins his critics in dismissing, at least in part—though not without the keenest eye for what went wrong and what seduced him into his delusions. One feels Bergman's pain as he edits his 312-minute Fanny and Alexander, filmed for Swedish TV, down to a three-hour theatrical release for the rest of the world. More amusing: his take on his famous trilogy, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence. Bergman now finds no reason to call it a trilogy: ``It was a Schnaps-IdÇ idea found at the bottom of a glass of alcohol....'' One of the century's greats looks at the bugs under his rocks. All told, stronger than his autobiography, The Magic Lantern (1988). (More than 200 b&w photographs)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55970-186-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1993

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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