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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching Masterpiece, 21 April 2003
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
I think this was the first Ingmar Bergmann film I had ever seen. I had heard that his films were either very deep or very dull. This is deep, but by no means dull - I'd say it's the strongest argument I've seen for cinema being considered art. Watching Victor Sjostrom's character facing the brink of death and looking back nostalgically at his youth, the movie seems to capture the human sense of grief over the passing of time, and getting old - indeed, of mortality.
The performances are terrific - Bibi Andersson couldn't be more cute if she tried and Ingrid Thulin clenches her teeth with admirable restraint throughout. Sjostrom is suprisingly strong - he hadn't acted for nearly 10 years prior to this film, was famed for being a director.
There is no doubt that, like most of Bergmann's films, it operates on several levels, but this is his most accessible film. It moves at a gentle pace but it is constantly captivating and thoroughly moving. If you want to get into his films, then I would advise you to start here. You won't regret it.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SHARP BUT SWEET TASTE, 14 Nov 2000
This is one of Bergman's more optimistic films which paradoxically asserts vitality through the subject matter of death, although it has its dark moments like all of his films. The professor, Isak Borg, is approaching the end of his life and the film is about his journey to Lund to receive an honourary degree. ...The film is narrated by Isak Borg and reflects on his idyllic childhood, but we soon realize that we may be watching his imagination rather than the actual events. Alongside these extended flash-backs are dream sequences which remind one of Borg's imminent death from old age, and the narrative of the journey itself. This journey in literal and metaphorical terms is his final pilgrimage, .... Along the journey Borg meets characters and obstacles which remind him of his past and missed opportunities. However, in general I saw this reassessment of his life as a poisitive act.
On the one hand, the tone of this film is one of regret for past events, but on the other it is one of richness and gratitude for the experiences of life. As always with Bergman, the photography is superb and the symbolism precise yet open to interpretation. I would thoroughly recommend this film to any Bergman fan and (it therefore follows) any cinema fan. Certain aspects may appear dated to contemporary film viewers, but if such quality is dated, I want to live in the past along with Isak Borg...
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bergman's best and most accessible films, 25 Feb 2002
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
I have watched this film on several occasions and it gets better each time.
It's a kind of 'road movie'. The journey taken across the Swedish landscape by hero Professor Isak also becomes the backward movement of memory and the forward movement toward death.
The surreal dream-scene early in the film, in which Isak sees his own bizarre funeral, sets up the context for the film.
As he goes further and further into his reminiscences, he finds regret in lost love.
These bitter-sweet memories capture the idyllic, ephemeral 'wild strawberries' of the title.
The way in which Bergman moves between the different worlds of the real present, memory and dreams is an object lesson in cinema.
An astounding film which will repay repeated viewing on DVD
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In search of lost time, 22 May 2009
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
Bergman makes films with the depth and subtlety that a writer uses in writing great novels.This film is a lodestone in it's ability to set the template for all future films.There is a nightmare sequence that is truly astonishing,clocks without hands,people without faces,a coffin revealing himself that has fallen off a carriage.The power of the leading actor(Sjostrom) who himself was one of Sweden's great directors to convey changes of emotion from sadness to joy.The road trip he takes is both external by car to Lund to collect an honorary doctorate for his lifetime acheivements.Its also internal,through dreams and memories into the wild strawberry-patch of the unconscious.With his daughter-in-law Marianne(Tulin) he explores the highways and the by-ways,picking up hitch-hikers enroute,having a minor accident with a squabbling married couple.His dedication to his science has cut him off from the spontaneous springs of innocence,love and happiness.The symbolism is not heavy-handed,it meshes beautifully in with the past,the present and the future of his life.Bibi Andersson plays both his early love Sara,who he loses through his coldness and one of the young hitch-hikers on their way to Italy.The black and white filmography is a superbly executed achieve-
ment.The dialogue has Dickensian power,the narrative is like a beautiful jewel that glimmers,the dream sequences are expressive and surrealistic.All the characters are working, from his cold dowager mother to Von Sydow as a garage mechanic.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High quality film, 21 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
A thought-provoking, bittersweet, intimate and poignant journey through a fulfilled but regretful life, this film continuously captivates and entertains. Ingmar Bergman excels in knitting together dreams, memories, imaginings and the present to explore the human soul. Large credit should be given to the cast for outstanding performances, particularly Victor Sjostrom as the old professor nearing the end of his life, Ingrid Thulin as the stoical daughter-in-law and Bibi Anderson as the charming lost-love and the effervescent hitchhiker.
Although a sorrowful experience, the appeal of this film will never fade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bergman, 9 July 2008
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
An aging Professor is due to collect his honary degree. The night before the ceremony he has a disturbing dream which he believes is a prediction of his own death. So he decides to drive to collect the award rather than fly. From then on we are in what is esstentially a road movie but with all the trappings you associate with Bergman.

The opening dream sequence is very disturbing. Its quite probable that this was influenced by certain modern/surreal artists. I'd also suggest that this scene was, if only indirectly, an influence on certain later horror films. The photography and camerawork is marvellous.

The remainder of the film (about another 80mins) is a largely somber look at lonliness as seen through the Professors eyes. Despite some previous reviewers comments that they found this an uplifting film I would advise caution. Yes there are a few uplifting moments, but in general this is a frankly depressing film, as the Professor, although a hugely respected man, seems to have no friends, and has upset various members of his family.

I've only watched it once and will certainly watch it again. Then it may get 5 stars as it is undoubtably a classic movie which will repay repeated viewings. Just be aware that you may finish watching it and feel quite depressed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey into past, 29 Nov 2007
By 
Alojz Kajinic (Carnegie, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a film about loneliness, regrets, disappointments, self-discovery, existential anxiety, forgiveness, redemption, our vulnerabilities and failures as human beings, and the acceptance of the world as it is. It reaffirmed my belief that Aristotle was right when he said that "happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence" and that "learning is not child's play; we cannot learn without pain."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ingmar Bergman's warmest film., 23 Feb 2008
By 
Mark Hilton (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
Funny to see a heart-warming road movie in the body of work by Ingmar Bergman, but here it is. Wild Strawberries charts the spiritual odyssey of professor Isak Borg, played by Victor Sjostrom. As he drives from Stockholm to Lund to receive an honourary degree, he is accompanied by his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin), whose marriage appears to be falling apart. Along the way he visits several of his childhood locations, forcing him to become aware of not only his mortality, but his emotional indifference to those close to him.

Wild Strawberries' true greatness however, lies with the director himself. Bergman, ever the master, refuses to let the proceedings get mired down with over-sentimentality. Borg's self-aware reflection and redemption comes across as genuinely touching, but never sickly sweet.
His peaceful, understated direction can only hint at the more angry, obtuse work that would come later in his illustrious career.

But this being Bergman, you know there will be some dark moments. Borg's creepy dream where a coffin reveals someone he knows rather well, will send a cold jolt up the spine. And Marianne's tearful flashback involving her pregnancy, may be a little to close for comfort for some.

Yet it's all worth it just to see that genuine Bergman rarity; a truly touching ending.
And the performances sparkle. Sjostrom, himself Sweden's greatest director before Bergman, gives a measured, beautiful portrayal in a performance worthy of anyone you can name. And the late, great Ingrid Thulin's radiant beauty is simply breathtaking.

Who'd have thought it? An Ingmar Bergman movie to make you smile.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intimate and stunnigly personal artistic achievment., 4 May 2000
By A Customer
Wild Strawberries is a beautiful and stunningly poetic treatment of the effect of isolation on man, and an intimate look view of it's directors fears. An old proffesor has a dream that sybolloically reminds him that he is nearing the end of his life. When he goes on a journey to collect a diploma, he recalls much of his life. The themes of the film are very similar to ergman's other celebrated film of 1957, in that we get a sometimes heavy (but, as always, highly personal) look at death from the point of view of it's auteur. However, Bergamn creates in "Wild Strawberries" a symbolic poetic and above all vividly beautiful piece of cinema (Gunnar Fischer's photography of nature is one of the high points of the film). There is no doubting, in this reviewers fine mind, that it was with this film that Bergman cements his reputation as the most uniquely personal director since the great Jean Renoir. An intellectual classic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true masterpiece, 17 April 2006
By 
David Welsh (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] (DVD)
Nearing the end of his life, Professor Isak Borg is driving, with his daughter-in-law, from Stockholm to Lund to be awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to medical science. Through his conversations with his daughter-in-law, a group of three young hitch-hikers they pick up and an embittered married couple who nearly crash into them, as well as extraordinary dream sequences and flashbacks to his youth, Borg faces and come to terms with the life he has lived. Wild Strawberries was one of the very first "road movies" - a film in which the main character simultaneously undertakes a physical journey and a psychological or spiritual journey - and it remains one of the very best of the genre. Isak Borg is played by Victor Sjöström, who is outstanding in his depiction of an old man facing death. This is one of Bergman's masterpieces.
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Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD]
Wild Strawberries [1957] [DVD] by Ingmar Bergman (DVD - 2002)
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