I am recently being introduced into the cinematographical world of Ingmar Bergman. When hearing the name of that famous Swedish director, I immediately think of the Indian of the series Northern Exposure, Ed Chigliak (played by Darren E. Burrows), who in one episode dreamed as if in a Bergman movie – in black and white and artistically filmed. (Because he had watched too many Bergman’s!)
Now here at the film museum, there is a retrospective going on. I’m not saying I’m going to watch them all – I’ve only seen 2 so far. But I must say, it really appealed to me. I had
figured, and this is mainly through hearsay and subjective outlets by others, that Bergman movies are heavy and gloomy. Centres around death and are depressing. Hm. To a certain extent maybe. What really surprised me was the humour that sneeks in.
A story cannot be appealing or true if it is only one-sided. One dimentional stories don’t work. And in the two I have seen so far, it is obvious there is more then meets the eye. As I read on the wiki link I gave you, and you might have looked at it if you are an uninitiated one like me, he deals with the human condition in most of his work. As I mentioned in my Terry Pratchett reviews, that is something I find very interesting. Existentialism and mortalitly are heavy subjects. And it’s quite something to touch these topics and still get the viewers intrest. Or laughs.
The movies I saw were Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället)(1958) with Victor Sjostrom, Bibi
Andersson, Ingrid Thulin. This one is actually a bit off beat to Bergman’s other movies, I’m told.
And The Magician (or The Face – Ansiktet) (1958) with Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Naima Wifstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson .
I have to say, that the actress Bibi Andersson has a charm and playfullness that wins you over in both movies.
Now I could give you plotlines and such – but I think it is just better to (as I always suggest, I know) take a leap of faith and watch it. If you like it, hurray, if you don’t, too bad. What I can do is say what I particulary liked in both.
In Wild Strawberries the old man, Isaac, has some dreams – the very first dream is a jewel in the way it is shot. Playing with light and shadow, making the charactor doubt, the coach with the horses running down the streets. To me that was a very good scene.
In Ansiktet, I loved the attic scene, where the magician teaches the doctor a lesson. Shows him his powers and almost has a vampiric attitude towards the poor man, sucking the fright right out of him. Very nicely shot. Gave me goosebumbs.