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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching Masterpiece, 21 April 2003
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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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
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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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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High quality film, 21 July 2004
By A Customer
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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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)   
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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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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another Bergman film I deeply admired without quite loving on first viewing, 17 April 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
An old doctor (a magnificent performance by Victor Sjostrom) takes a
car trip to receive an award for 50 years in medicine, accompanied by
his daughter in law, and some teenage hitchhikers they pick up.

He is tormented by highly symbolic dreams (beautifully done), and by
the realization he has kept himself at an emotional distance from
others and the world, and now his life is racing towards it's end.

Quite moving in spots, but somehow never ended up with as much power as
I expected.

Two critics' notes made sense to me. One said that, for as great and
transparent as Sjostrom's performance is, he is so sweet and likable a
presence it's hard to reconcile him with a man his daughter in law
openly admits she doesn't like because of his cold nature.

The other point - which could also be applied to 'The Seventh Seal' is
that the film seems less special today because the stylistic barriers
it broke and the doors it opened (an almost totally subjective film,
dream sequences of depth and meaning, etc) have since become a familiar
part of film grammar. But at the time, this was something new and
brave. Another to re-see.

If you have a DVD player then I'd strongly recommend that over this VHS.
The film is such a powerful visual experience, that seeing it with the limitations
of VHS resolution is a shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another Bergman film I deeply admired without quite loving on first viewing, 17 April 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
An old doctor (a magnificent performance by Victor Sjostrom) takes a
car trip to receive an award for 50 years in medicine, accompanied by
his daughter in law, and some teenage hitchhikers they pick up.

He is tormented by highly symbolic dreams (beautifully done), and by
the realization he has kept himself at an emotional distance from
others and the world, and now his life is racing towards it's end.

Quite moving in spots, but somehow never ended up with as much power as
I expected.

Two critics' notes made sense to me. One said that, for as great and
transparent as Sjostrom's performance is, he is so sweet and likable a
presence it's hard to reconcile him with a man his daughter in law
openly admits she doesn't like because of his cold nature.

The other point - which could also be applied to 'The Seventh Seal' is
that the film seems less special today because the stylistic barriers
it broke and the doors it opened (an almost totally subjective film,
dream sequences of depth and meaning, etc) have since become a familiar
part of film grammar. But at the time, this was something new and
brave. Another to re-see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visit to the wild strawberries, 27 Nov 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I saw this film first as the projectionist at a university film club; not an ideal situation for relaxed viewing but it made an impression and I have watched it a few times since. In "Wild Strawberries", [1957], Ingmar Bergman showed once again his mastery of the film medium for story-telling and peeling away layers from characters with very fluid camera work and sharp editing. This DVD makes study of it so simple and the few bonus features are useful; much easier than reels of 16mm.

Victor Sjöström and Bibi Andersson are excellent and play their parts with such in their characters, both understated to allow the plot to develop. Professor Isak is caught between a rock and a hard place, having partially withdrawm from much social contact, his coldness exacerbates the problem and few want to spend time with him. Widowed, the seventy-eight year Professor Isak Borg, a former medical doctor and professor, is looking death in the face.

Bergman slips fluently and fluidly through his real present, his increasing world of his memories and his dreams. Travelling from Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree, rather than fly, he drives with his daughter-in-law Marianne, who has been staying with him. His car journey becomes a journey through his life, a journey Ingmar Bergman made so memorable with this superb film.

Recommended
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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)   
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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Criterion Collection: Wild Strawberries [Blu-ray] [1957] [US Import]
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