And now Antonioni is dead.
Bergman was, for me as for many Americans of a certain age, an introduction to the world of "art" cinema. I'd guess The Seventh Seal was the starting point for most, although in my case, Through a Glass, Darkly was the first art film I can remember seeing and being impressed by. Bergman made so many great films ... besides the two mentioned above, I'd surely add Smiles of a Summer Night ... it's almost too easy to call him a great director (or more ... some of the obits have him as the greatest artist, period, of his day). I found him too severe at times ... as much as I loved Through a Glass, Darkly, I found the rest of that trilogy dull at best, and in fact felt hostile towards those films at their/my worst.
Antonioni was more difficult than Bergman, to my eyes anyway ... for one thing, he was a bit of an anti-Booty Call, his movies seemed at times to go on forever, and since many of those movies weren't "about" anything, forever could be quite a long time. Like most wannabee-hippie types, I was intrigued by Blow-Up, but over time, it was L'Avventura that became my favorite of his movies, even, I might confess in an honest moment, the only one that really mattered to me (call it the Paulette in me). Let's just say it's the one I can rewatch with ... oh, I wouldn't call it pleasure, that's not the way to describe watching L'Avventura, but it sticks with one, and the way he placed humans in those vast landscapes ... well, it's not every movie that you can picture so precisely in your mind.
And, in what I suppose is an irony, given my recent LinkedIn activities, back in the day before personal computers and "The Internet," I knew someone who called Antonioni "Michelangelo" (he had Monica Vitti in his personal phone book, as well). I guess if I'd known that person 30 years later, I'd be "almost connected" to Antonioni.
What's funny-not-ha-ha-but-funny-commentary-on-society, the effect all of these deaths have on me personally is related more to an imagined closeness than to anything these folks accomplished. Tom Snyder came into my house via the television, so he feels like a friend who has passed away, while I wouldn't for a second mistake Bergman or Antonioni for friends (not sure where Bill Walsh fits into this "theory"). The truth is, I'm probably more affected by the recent deaths of fictional characters I've come to "know" than I am by the deaths of these very real human beings.