Thursday, 4 December 2014

''Wild Strawberries'' (1957 film)- Review

Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
Released: 1957
Country: Sweden
Genre: Drama

Cast:  Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jullan Kindahl, Folke Sundquist, Björn Bjelfvenstam

 Rating: 5 out of 5


Isolation. Emptiness. Loneliness. How much can isolaion impact somebody's life? It is quite obvious that isolation can cause emptiness, it causes loneliness. Where does selfishness, antisocial attitude lead us to? How long can somebody remain satisfied if he keeps himself isolated, if he dislikes social interactions? Can somebody change himself if he understands the true meaning of life? Through the dreams and reminiscences of the protagonist Professor Borg, ''Wild Strawberries'' poses these questions. It is a remarkable story of self-discovery.

Our 78-year-old protagonist, Professor Isak Borg, had a successful career as a physician and bacteriologist. We get a glimpse of his life in the very first scenes of the film: he leads a very lonely life, with only a housekeeper to take care of him. His wife died years ago; his son rarely contacts him; his mother, though still living, lives far away. He has to go to Lund to receive an honorary doctorate degree. He decides to drive to Lund, and his daughter-in-law Marianne, who has been living with him for some time, having apparently had some problems with her husband, decides to accompany him. She wants to meet Evald, her husband (and Isak's son) in Lund. On their way to Lund, Isak has such experiences, strange dreams, reminiscences, thoughts, that ultimately lead him to realize how emptiness can affect somebody's life, how small things can deeply affect someone's life, how isolation can leave a terrible impact in somebody's life, and all these ultimately lead him to self-discovery, and make him determined to change his way of life, to learn how to love and appreciate people, to leave the life of selfishness and social aloofness.

Over the course of the film, Professor Borg learns to identify himself, he learns to identify how meaningless an empty and lonely life can be. It is definitely one of the most beautiful and emotionally impacting films about self-discovery.

The dream sequences, the flashbacks are so beautiful that it's impossible to forget them. The amazing cinematography, background scores- these are unforgettable. The dream sequences and the memory sequences are beautifully executed.

The performances are, of course, excellent. Victor Sjöström, as Isak Borg, is amazing throughout the film. Ingrid Thulin plays Marianne, Isak's daughter-in-law who initially dislikes Isak but over the course of the journey gets closer to him and starts liking him. There are two characters named Sara and they are played by the same actress, Bibi Andersson. The first Sara is the woman to whom Isak was ''secretly engaged'', but later she had married Isak's brother. We see her in flashbacks. The second Sara is a young girl who (along with two friends) joins Isak and Marianne in their journey. The three young people remain with Isak and Marianne throughout the journey, and these spirited, cheerful young people help Isak self-discovery as well.

''Wild Strawberries'' is a hauntingly beautiful film. It is emotional, it is beautiful, it is thought-provoking. It is definitely one of the best films about self-discovery, and about the very meaning of life, ever made.

5 out of 5

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