|Fig 1 - Wild Strawberries Poster|
Wild Strawberries is, at it's core, A Christmas Carol for nihilists. From Isak's back-story we are given enough information to know that his Scrooge-like attitude towards life did not come out of nowhere. At one point we are introduced to Isak's mother, who is even more cold and grouchy than Isak comes across, exhibiting traits which have clearly been passed down to Isak's son Evald (Gunnar Björnstrand) who outright loathes his own existence and refers to himself as an "unwanted child (from) a hellish marriage". So when Isak's persona begins to warm over the course of the journey, we see a change in him that has clearly not been sparked for some time. Though ultimately, unlike Scrooge's lust for wealth, Isak recounts several emotionally devastating events in his life that gradually became a wall between him and those around him. These events really become the foundation of our empathy towards Isak and give us a reason to root for his change over time.
|Fig 2 - Wild Strawberries - Marianne and Isak|
On the whole, the film is very dream-oriented, perhaps as an alternative to the ghosts of Christmas (to reiterate the Scrooge analogy). And in these dreams, there is a resounding pang of internal conflict between aspiring for greatness and committing oneself to others. The overall message of the film is a fairly universal one and definitely translates more coherently than that of Persona (1966) (being the only other Bergman film that I've seen...) I wasn't sure how much I was enjoying the film by the halfway point but by the end I was won over by the weight of the history in this man's life and even by the end, having made it to the award ceremony, it isn't even the long-awaited recognition that enables him to sleep soundly once more. It's a profound and existential look into the conflicts of the ego, which gives Wild Strawberries just as much relevance today as ever before.
Fig. 1 Wild Strawberries Poster (1957) From: Wild Strawberries - Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
Fig. 2 Wild Strawberries Screenshot (1957) From: Wild Strawberries - Directed by: Ingmar Bergman