I woke up to see a lot of news about the death of David Bowie. I thought about how much I liked the use f “Modern Love” in “Frances Ha.” It seemed that Bowie made a last statement about death with his last album. I went over to work. I returned with the DVD of “The Magician,” which should also be known as “The Face.” It had a great cast of Bergman regulars, and the cinematography was by Gunnar Fischer. I thought it was remarkable that Max von Sydow was in the recent Star Wars movie. He was Albert Emanuel Vogler, retreating into silence like one of the characters in “Persona.” The movie is about the artist, the audience, and the critic. You can see Bergman as Vogler, performing tricks of illusion for the viewers. I thought of the glimpses backstage in “The Magic Flute.” There was one other touch of opera with a woman posing as a man, rather like Cherubino in “The Marriage of Figaro.” That was Manda, Albert’s wife. If this were a realistic movie, nobody would be fooled by this disguise. There was another illogical bit of story with the doctor not noticing the face of the person he dissected for an autopsy. Vogler’s disguise with mustache and beard is also obviously fake, although only one person clearly sees through it. There is a bit of “Cries and Whispers” with characters who are dead coming back to life. There is some of “Fanny and Alexander” with the person named Vergerus and the projected images. This is a comedy, although it’s not one of your hilarious comedies. Bibi Andersson looked like Liv Ullmann. The ending was that of a comedy, abrupt and unlikely. A creaking sound makes it seem like it’s not a completely happy ending. I thought that “The Magician” was one of Bergman’s most interesting movies, if not up to the level of “The Seventh Seal” and “Wild Strawberries.” I wonder what happened to Gunnar Fischer, because his work with Bergman was great. The DVD had a very good commentary from Peter Cowie and a helpful booklet. “The Magician” reminded me of some of Woody Allen’s films that had elements of magic and discussions of science and the unknown. Bergman said that he made “The Magician” during one of the happiest periods of his life. I watched a bit of the Johnny Carson show, but I didn’t want to sit there watching Michael J. Fox. I get a sad feeling when I see these old shows and see the stars in their youth in better health. It seemed like Michael J. Fox was talking about “Casualties of War.” It was rather funny to think that Sean Penn, who has been in the news in recent days, was in that movie. I watched a bit of Stephen Colbert talking about El Chapo. I guess that part of the suspense is in whether El Chapo will be able to escape again before he can be extradited. I would say that he has pretty good odds. Some of the people who died on January 12 include Hermann Minkowski (1909), Nevil Shute (1960), Agatha Christie (1976), Keye Luke (1991), and Maurice Gibb (2003). Today is a birthday for John Lasseter (59), Howard Stern (62), and Kirstie Alley (65).

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