Wild Strawberries

393. WILD STRAWBERRIES 0957-Sweden). With VICTOR SJOSTROM, Bibi ANDERSSON, MAX von SYDOW. Written and directed by INGMAR BERGMAN. Bergman’s poignant drama about an aging doctor’s journey through his memories, daydreams and nightmares belongs on any list of the best films of all time. About to be honored for his life achievement, 78-year-old Isak Borg is nevertheless plagued by anxieties beginning with a terrifying dream that conveys his empty existence and fear of death (a deserted street, a dock with no hands, a man with no face, a hearse carrying Isak himself). Travelling by car to the award ceremonies, Isak is accompanied by his daughter-in- law, who bluntly calls him cold and selfish, and says that his son a vain, egotistical mirror image of Isak hates him. Shaken, Isak begins contemplating the sterility of his life. A wild strawberry patch triggers nostalgic, bittersweet memories of his first love, who, repelled by his coldness, had married his brother. In an extensive nightmare filled with dark, ominous images and sounds worthy of any horror film: Isak undergoes a brutal examination and symÂbolic crucifixion, which force him to confront his heartlessness and guilt. Realizing that he has been spiritually dead, Isak determines to use what little time remains to change his ways and reconcile with his son, and this decision finally gives him some peace (his last dream, a lovely, sun-filled vision of Isak’s reconciliation with his own parents, is among the most moving scenes in cinema). In fact, there are many memorable scenes, worth replaying again and again because of their visual beauty and rich symbolism. The film covers so many realms of human experience that it affects us profoundly, as only the greatest works of art can. No wonder Time Magazine said that it is widely acclaimed as Bergman’s masterpiece.” In Swedish with English subtitles. 90 minutes. Drama