Film review

Wild Strawberries

Opened January 1, Cert 15, 91 mins

One of the few early Bergman features that remains an untarnished jewel half a century later, Wild Strawberries is a 1957 road movie laced with symbolism, philosophical musing and sly humour which gently but consistently undercuts its emotionally remote narrator.

The 78-year-old Victor Sjöström, a former actor and innovative director of Swedish silent films, hits just the right note of pomp and vulnerability as Isak Borg, a retired professor driving across country with his embittered daughter-in-law (Ingrid Thulin) to collect an honorary degree. But a series of accidents and encounters leads Borg to question his past in flashback, conjuring ghosts from his unreliable memory, musing on mortality and faith. Laced with cryptic Freudian imagery and flashes of surrealism, Bergman's tender and exquisitely photographed evocation of an older man's autumnal self-delusion earned the young writer-director an Oscar nomination and a generation of copycat admirers—most obviously Woody Allen. One of the Swedish maestro's most eloquent works, Wild Strawberries is the perfect primer for Bergman virgins.

Rating: 4 / 10


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 43rd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original...