Combustible Celluloid
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With: Victor Sjstrm, Ingrid Thulin, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Max von Sydow
Written by: Ingmar Bergman
Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Swedish with English subtitles
Running Time: 91
Date: 12/26/1957

Wild Strawberries (1957)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Road Scholar

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

My favorite Ingmar Bergman film, without question. Most people regard The Seventh Seal as his greatest work, but that film seems to me an outdated collection of symbols aimed at coffeehouse intellectuals. Wild Strawberries deals with more human concerns and does so with extraordinary beauty and grace. Former film director Victor Sjöström (The Wind) stars as Professor Isak Borg who takes a road trip over one long day to accept an honorary degree.

During the trip, shared by his distraught daughter-in-law (Ingrid Thulin), he experiences dreams and memories about his youth and the successes and failures of his life. The opening nightmare sequence still gives me chills. Max von Sydow, who had the lead in Bergman's previous film The Seventh Seal, has a small role here as a gas station attendant.

The Criterion Collection's DVD release comes with a superb black-and-white transfer, though the commentary track by Peter Cowie can be rather dull. On the plus side, the disc contains a new feature-length documentary on Bergman and his work. A Blu-ray edition was released in 2013.

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