Friday, May 15, 2009

WILD STRAWBERRIES (Ingmar Bergman, 1957, Sweden) The wild scent of the past forces an old man to look back upon his life and see himself darkly: an ignoble man whose graven image is carved upon his selfish son. Dr. Borg embarks upon a road trip to receive an honorary College degree but Director Ingmar Bergman isn’t concerned with accomplishments: he peers into the waiting abyss of death, that long dark night that awaits us all. Dr. Borg travels with his daughter-in-law who sheds an unpleasant light upon his son and his own being; three young travelers who infuse him with hope; and a married couple whose anger and resentment mirrored his own tumultuous relationship. During the journey, he visits the unoccupied summerhouse of his youth, walking into his past like a ghost, seeking understanding of the true love that he let slip away. The lonely doctor begins to feel that his journey nears its end, not at the College but in the cessation of mental and physical being, and he is consumed with fears of that great unknown. He begins to seek blessings from his family but realizes that forgiveness does not come easily; it isn’t inherent in words or a single deed, but in the very core of our nature…and his time is running out. Bergman’s beautiful black & white cinematography captures the living spirit of the narrative by exploring life in a simple and direct fashion. The dream sequences are fugues into a metaphysical state and visually defined as reality, allowing us to hear the soft whisper between the two worlds. (B)

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