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Sweden 1957
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
93 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries is a portrait of Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström), a retired emeritus professor about to receive an honorary degree an occasion which causes him to reflect on his life and its failures.

Although with some marvellous and memorable passages, the dream sequences recreating the Professor's youth in particular, and precise character analysis, Bergman's protagonist (whose initials are not entirely coincidentally match those of Bergman although he has denied any intentional connection) seems too benign to be a full-blooded character and his redemption at the end of the film a little lenient for this otherwise insightful account of the disappointments of life to have much bite.

More jarringly however is the introduction of the contemporary Sara (played by Bibi Andersson, with whom Bergman was romantically involved at the time) and her two male companions, their intended representation of youthful fecklessness throwing out the melancholy and reflective mood which is the film's strength. Ingrid Thulin in her first screen appearance for Bergman is a remarkable screen presence as the professor's daughter-in-law and the role of the professor is played by with great conviction by Sjöström, Sweden's leading director of the silent era, who was in ailing at the time.

DVD Extras: Commentary by UK academic, Peter Cowie; a Bergman filmography; photo gallery and a DVD-Rom feature, Bergman Book Manuscript by Cowie.

Available from: Village Roadshow




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