Wild Strawberries

"OK"

Wild Strawberries Review


I've never been much of an Ingmar Bergman fan, but I have respect for much of his work. Wild Strawberries is the notable exception, often hailed as his best or second-best work (after The Seventh Seal). I frankly think it's sub-par, overwhelmingly oppresive in its obvious imagery -- crucifixion motifs and non-sequitur dream sequences -- to the point where a legion of film students have been prompted to copycat its overt heavy-handedness for half a century. In fact, I keep thinking about The Big Picture, where the film students have produced such ultra-sensitive tripe but find heaps of praise piled upon them anyway. Presumably, the audience is stunned that it can understand the filmic metaphors they have created, and thus, they must be genius.

Wild Strawberries is exactly this type of film, a short but often unbearable production about an ancient doctor grappling with a death that is just around the corner. He ends up on a road trip, filled with false starts, wrong turns, and fantastic dream/fantasy sequences, all designed for him to confront death and question the existence of God. But nothing is really questioned, it is simply presented as bleak and nasty, with our hero facing the inevitability of a void in lieu of the afterlife. The film does not provoke any questions or debate about either death or God.

And it comes off as if Bergman never really wants this anyway. We are instead invited to notice how clever the film is, what with its clocks with no hands (oooooh, that's deep) and ominous tree branches to spook us. But it's not clever. It's obvious. And in the end, it's meaningless.

I've seen Wild Strawberries several times, most recently on the new Criterion DVD, which cleans up the transfer and provides a commentary. As expected, that commentary track, offered by one of those pundits (Bergman buddy Jörn Donner) who is far too familiar with Bergman's work, is almost pathetic in the way it fawns over Bergman, offering praise for every scene (and every aspect of each scene), no matter how mundane it is. In a single sequence, he fawns over the plain lighting on a woman's face as subtle and then goes on to state that no one can write dialogue as well as Bergman. He talks about having a meal with a minor actor in the film, a discussion that lasts for several minutes. And of course, all of this sounds as if it is read, not offered offhandedly, meticulously planned well in advance. It's an altogether ridiculous addition to a ridiculous movie.

Let the hate mail begin!

Aka Smultronstället.



Wild Strawberries

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Monday 22nd June 1959

Distributed by: Janus Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Juliette Damiens as Violette, Julien Lambert as Gabriel, Stéphane Lara as Franck, as La mère, Jean-Michel Noirey as Le père, Yannick Bequelin as Armand (as Yannick Becquelin), Jacqueline Gautier as La vieille dame, Jean-Louis Liget as Le client, Hélène Cauët as Madame, Clara-Lou Collart as Flora, Karine Dedeurwaerder as Madame Pavillon, Stéphane Plasentin as Monsieur Pavillon (as Stéphane Piasentin), Mylène Guériot as L'amie de Violette

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.