Friday, February 23, 2018

Wild Strawberries

Even reading a Wikipedia summary of Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries you’re filled with wistfulness, then a twinge and at times even a wrenching sadness. Many books movies and even paintings gain their power from the shock of recognition. But the catharsis created by this particular masterpiece derives its power  its universality. Old viewers can easily put themselves in the position of the film’s protagonist, a professor on his way to receiving an honor, who in a sequence of reminiscences finds himself confronting the most painful memories of his past. One that is particularly trenchant is that of a girl he once loved who ended up with his brother. If you've seen Wild Strawberries when you were young, revisiting the movie, which is being revived today, as part of Film Forum’s centennial Bergman retrospective, will itself act like a metaphor for the very journey that the Bergman’s hero takes. It also should be noted that the film was the last furlough for the famous Swedish actor Victor Sjostrom who played the academic, Isak Borg. It’s always said that at the moment of death your whole life is played out before you, but on a lesser level the closer you get to the awareness of one’s mortality, the state of authenticity that Heidegger alludes to, the more you live out Bergman's narrative and while the details of every life are different, the bittersweet feelings are remarkably the same.

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