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57 Wild Strawberries 
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Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
Wild Strawberries (1957)

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What is it about nostalgia? It's been called a thief of time, yet we cannot help but feel nostalgic. Why is it that we often romanticize the past when we look back at it? Whatever the reasons, I think nostalgia serves an important purpose in our well-being.

Nostalgia is critical to Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. In the film, an old curmudgeonly doctor drives decides to drive (rather than fly) across Sweden to collect an award. Joining him on this trip is his daughter-in-law, however they pick up (and drop off) a couple passengers along the way. During the trip the doctor ends up meditating on his life as people and places trigger daydreams and nightmares.

Prior to Wild Strawberries I had only seen two films from Ingmar Bergman, both of which I liked. This, however, is the first of his movies that I absolutely adore. It is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The acting, the direction, the script...everything is perfect. Don't just face your mortality, embrace it. 10/10.


Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly
And I am older than I once was
And younger than I'll be, but that's not unusual.
No, it isn't strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same


-- "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel†

†I received an email from an old friend just after looking at this film. Coincidentally he discussed time, a topic which he reinforced by using the above lyrics. It was such a good idea that I decided to "borrow" it.


Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:01 pm
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
Hooray!

After Bergman's The Seventh Seal it was probably unclear what the director had up his sleeve for a follow-up. He was teetering on obscurity before Seal and, after that, he could have filmed himself shaving and gotten some accolades. Instead he delivered Wild Strawberries, an all around better film than Seal and Bergman's most elegant treatise. The bittersweetness of this one forced Woody Allen into stealing dozens of images and passages for his (arguable) 90s masterpiece, Deconstructing Harry. Old Nabokov, that very same year (1957), gave us Pnin -- a story centering around a road trip, nostalgia, and the pangs of mortality. Was it something about 1957 that drove all brilliant artists into mad grasps for sanity in a world sliding into ephemeral meaninglessness. Nabokov! BERGMAN!

Wild Strawberries is Bergman's greatest work from the Decade of Post-War Transition. So great is the film, in fact, that his next two pictures were shown before the applause of 1957 died down. The Virgin Spring, some three years later, was the next one anyone paid attention to. A second hearty recommendation for Wild Strawberries, a muted scream for lasting meaning given by a man that couldn't have been any more depressed as fame catapulted him into all those households. Let the era of Major Bergman begin, ed_metal_head. Check out that trilogy after you've grappled with Persona.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:30 am
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
I've only seen this and The Seventh Seal from Bergman. I have Persona in my DVR awaiting a viewing. I hear that's a tough watch, and to be honest, I'm a little intimidated. I'd give Wild Strawberries a resounding 4/4, but I was not a fan of The Seventh Seal. I don't even know how to rate it. That's another discussion for another thread, however.

Wild Strawberries is a masterwork. It's one of the few films that has been analyzed to death, yet upon it's initial viewing still hits you with an incredibly powerful punch. There's just no way around it. The movie is unbelievably emotionally affecting. Bergman so eloquently deals with so many personal themes that it's damn near impossible not to be touched by, or relate to, something. It's one of the few movies that makes me feel true, genuine emotion while watching it, not just "movie" emotion, if that makes sense.

I'm pretty sure Woody Allen references the film in Crimes and Misdemeanors as well. It's the scene where Judah (Martin Landau) sees his fchildhood family at the dinner table and a conversation about God takes place. There's a similar scene in this film where Prof. Borg sees his childhood family at the dinner table having a conversation.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:50 pm
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
PeachyPete wrote:
I've only seen this and The Seventh Seal from Bergman. I have Persona in my DVR awaiting a viewing. I hear that's a tough watch, and to be honest, I'm a little intimidated.


viewtopic.php?f=48&t=1316 - See what the forum members, both alive and deceased, feel about Persona! The Musical

It isn't as crazy obscure as you've maybe been lead to believe. Don't let the opening images throw you for the 80 minutes that follow -- it becomes clearer some time after the picture has ended.

Although...

PeachyPete wrote:
... Mulholland Dr. I can't say enough how much I hate that movie.


Don't be intimidated but definitely expect the worst out of the experience. It isn't as frustrating as Mulholland Dr. although it may remind you of that particular film.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:38 am
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
majoraphasia wrote:
Let the era of Major Bergman begin, ed_metal_head. Check out that trilogy after you've grappled with Persona.


Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have a look. At some point I'd like to see Bergman's entire output. Did any of those 23 Bergman films you saw include his early work which was supposedly recut, exported and advertised to US audiences as softcore pornography? I'm curious about the quality of those pictures.

PeachyPete wrote:
I've only seen this and The Seventh Seal from Bergman. I have Persona in my DVR awaiting a viewing. I hear that's a tough watch, and to be honest, I'm a little intimidated. I'd give Wild Strawberries a resounding 4/4, but I was not a fan of The Seventh Seal.


I like this more than The Seventh Seal too. Actually, The Seventh Seal is my least favourite of the 3 Bergman films I've seen but I still like it. Part of the problem may be the weight of expectations. I went into The Seventh Seal with gargantuan expectations, it being my first Bergman movie and all. Those expectations weren't met, so I ended up approaching Wild Strawberries with some caution. Unexpected delights are are so much fun.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:24 pm
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
majoraphasia wrote:
Don't be intimidated but definitely expect the worst out of the experience. It isn't as frustrating as Mulholland Dr. although it may remind you of that particular film.


Your powers of persuasion know no bounds - masochism is a hobby of mine. It has a short running time so maybe I'll watch it over the weekend.


ed_metal_head wrote:
I like this more than The Seventh Seal too. Actually, The Seventh Seal is my least favourite of the 3 Bergman films I've seen but I still like it. Part of the problem may be the weight of expectations. I went into The Seventh Seal with gargantuan expectations, it being my first Bergman movie and all. Those expectations weren't met, so I ended up approaching Wild Strawberries with some caution. Unexpected delights are are so much fun.


I think you're on to something here. However, I would respect your opinion a great deal more if you didn't spell the word favorite with a "u". Going into The Seventh Seal my expectations couldn't have been higher. I expected, and wanted, to love it. It was my first Bergman film, and I always heard how spectacular he was. Coupled with a plot summary I read that simply stated: A Knight returning home from the Crusades has a chess match with Death, I just knew it was a can't miss. I can't really call it a bad film, I just wasn't as enthralled with it as I thought I would be. Like you, I was a little apprehensive going into Wild Strawberries. Turned out, I loved it.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:05 pm
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
PeachyPete wrote:
Going into The Seventh Seal my expectations couldn't have been higher. I expected, and wanted, to love it. It was my first Bergman film, and I always heard how spectacular he was. Coupled with a plot summary I read that simply stated: A Knight returning home from the Crusades has a chess match with Death, I just knew it was a can't miss.


That was more or less my exact experience.

PeachyPete wrote:
I think you're on to something here. However, I would respect your opinion a great deal more if you didn't spell the word favorite with a "u".


Humour me for a second. You know discretion is the better part of valour but this American English with their "u"-less words is just so depressing that any man of honour cannot just let it go. I mean all those "u"s add colour and flavour to a language. Sure, you have to do a bit more labour to type the extra "u" but it looks so much nicer. Recognise my point?


Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:57 pm
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
ed_metal_head wrote:
PeachyPete wrote:
Going into The Seventh Seal my expectations couldn't have been higher. I expected, and wanted, to love it. It was my first Bergman film, and I always heard how spectacular he was. Coupled with a plot summary I read that simply stated: A Knight returning home from the Crusades has a chess match with Death, I just knew it was a can't miss.


That was more or less my exact experience.

PeachyPete wrote:
I think you're on to something here. However, I would respect your opinion a great deal more if you didn't spell the word favorite with a "u".


Humour me for a second. You know discretion is the better part of valour but this American English with their "u"-less words is just so depressing that any man of honour cannot just let it go. I mean all those "u"s add colour and flavour to a language. Sure, you have to do a bit more labour to type the extra "u" but it looks so much nicer. Recognise my point?


I hate U.


Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:58 am
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:44 pm
Posts: 1531
Post Re: 57 Wild Strawberries
Just an FYI, TCM is showing 2 of Victor Sjostrom's(the lead in Wild Strawberries) films as director tomorrow. The Scarlet Letter(1926) & The Wind(1928)

Both star Lillian Gish. The Wind is ranked 308 on 'The Greatest Films' list.


Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:09 pm
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