SMULTRONSTÄLLET (1957)

On a road trip to receive an honorary degree, an elderly academic (Victor Sjöstrom) looks back over his life in Ingmar Bergman’s art-cinema classic.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • SMULTRONSTÄLLET Original
  • WILD STRAWBERRIES Alternative
  • Les FRAISES SAUVAGES Alternative

Cast & Credits

Introduction

“What makes Wild Strawberries great is its nearness to each of us. And its almost Christian insistence on the possibility of reconciliation and redemption.”
Derek Malcolm, A Century of Films, 2000

Together with The Seventh Seal (1956), Wild Strawberries confirmed the reputation of Ingmar Bergman as one of world cinema’s finest new talents. Opening with a starkly symbolic dream sequence, the film follows Professor Isak Borg as he journeys by car in the company of his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin) to collect an award from his former university. The trip occasions a series of reminiscences and reveries, as the ageing Borg revisits the scenes of his youth and reflects on an unhappy marriage.

Bergman pays tribute to his forebears by casting great silent filmmaker Victor Sjöstrom as Borg, but strikes out for a new form of intellectual cinema characterised by probing into the nature of existence. Wild Strawberries also became a model for the road movie.

Of Sjöstrom’s own films, 1921’s The Phantom Carriage was a particular influence on Bergman, who claimed to watch it at least once a year.

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