Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries surprised me. It's structure is that of a multifaceted crystalline object, mapping so much of an individual's life- through flashbacks, dream sequences, and encounters with characters that reflect elements of a character's life or fears even as they don't advance the plot.

The last Bergman film I saw, Autumn Sonata, has superficially similar subject matter, but it's more literal, straightforward depiction of a sequence in time makes it play out completely differently. That film is more emotionally draining and brutal, as opposed to the warmth in Wild Strawberries. Autumn Sonata ending points towards the possibility of redemption that Wild Strawberries actually provides.

Wild Strawberries also has amazing black and white cinematography that allows for dreaminess, whereas Autumn Sonata looks shot on video, grounding in the concrete.

But the structure of Wild Strawberries- I'm not sure I've seen a film that's worked like that. It seems like most movies, if they have dream sequences in them, don't have characters that enter the narrative for a scene or two and then leave. And most films that would be that freewheeling wouldn't carry around the same amount of weight and anxiety that's Bergman's general territory. It ends up really resonant for the amount of empty space it carves out for itself. And despite all that, it still only runs for an hour and a half. That's what surprised me, and what made me love it.


Anonymous said...

i saw that movie a few months ago... the strawberries one. pretty good.

bryan elfboy said...

Two movies that kindof remind me of Wild Strawberries that I really like are The Saragossa Manuscript and The Milky Way. The latter was inspired by the former, I think. I watched The Seventh Seal for the first time just a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I think it's my favorite Bergman film, next being Through a Glass Darkly. I wish I could describe why I love it, but instead I am gonna take a nap.