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Showing results for tags 'Ingmar Bergman'.
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"Wild Strawberries" is a simple story, beautifully told, about an old man, highly respected in his community but lacking in human warmth and affection, who finds a way to reestablish his connection with this family by revisiting his youth. It is a story of longing, missed opportunities, love lost and second chances. It is a lovely and quietly brilliant film that brought tears to my eyes. Victor Sjöström is outstanding in his final screen performance as Professor Isak Borg, the old man recalling his past, and Bibi Andersson is delightful in her dual roles as Sara. Beautiful Ingrid Thulin gives an outstanding performance as the old man's daughter-in-law, Marianne. I highly recommend this film.
The iconic image of a knight playing chess with the personification of death is all I knew about "The Seventh Seal" ("Det sjunde inseglet") before viewing it. The knight, brilliantly portrayed by Max von Sydow, seeks the meaning of life and death, and questions the existence of God, during the Black Plague. Answers to his questions elude the knight (Antonius Block), and the closest he comes to finding meaning in life is an idyllic afternoon he spends eating strawberries and drinking milk with a married pair of traveling thespians. Watching their toddler son frolic around the campsite, Block remarks, "I shall remember this moment: the silence, the twilight, the bowl of strawberries, the bowl of milk. Your faces in the evening light...I shall carry this memory carefully in my hands as if it were a bowl brimful of fresh milk. It will be a sign for me, and a great sufficiency." This is my favorite scene, and it stands in sharp contrast to the darkness Block encounters on his journey through Sweden's countryside during the plague. The burning of a young "witch" at the stake and self-flagellation by a group of passing peasants ( in their futile attempt to ward off the Black Death) reinforce Block's doubts about the existence of a higher power. The chess game with death continues throughout the film, and Block gradually accepts that this is a game no one can win. Other characters are stalked by death in a variety of ways, but always with the same result. While the subject matter is bleak, the film is not. Surprisingly, there is a lot of humor in the film. The antics of the traveling actors, and relationship advice from Block's down-to-earth but woman-weary squire, made me laugh out loud. "The Seventh Seal" is a classic film, considered a masterpiece by many critics. With its gorgeous cinematography, thought-provoking themes, witty dialogue and empathetic and engaging characters, I can see why.
I just watched "Crisis" (1946), a Swedish film directed by Bergman. It was his feature directing debut, and he also wrote the screenplay. I enjoyed the film, and I felt like the subject matter translated well to today. Maybe it is because I grew up in a small, sleepy town and desperately wanted to get out of it, but I related to the main character. The story, while not earthshaking, held my interest. After we watch the rest of his films, I would like to go back and compare them to this one and note his growth as a director. I am sure this film will pale in comparison to the others we watch. For a first effort by a man in this twenties, however, I think this film is solid. It is not great, but it is good and shows the promise of its young director.
Torment was originally released in Sweden as "Hets," and then in the U.K. as "Frenzy." Released in 1944, it represents Ingmar Bergman's first directorial work, although he wasn't the official director (he co-directed without credit, and also wrote the screenplay). This is the first film in our Bergman retrospective, as we're going in chronological order. Having watched about 45 minutes of the movie as I post this, I can tell you right now: It's worth your time! Of note: This was released during WWII, not that this is readily evident from what I've seen so far, but how could it not have affected things?