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Bergman Island made my city of five years seem new again. I practically skipped home. Here’s why: Mia Hansen-Love’s film is basically five films in one tidy yet close to two hour long movie.
First, it’s a film about a pair of romantically entangled writers going to Faro Island to write at the Ingmar Bergman estate. Tim Roth plays the ‘straight man’ of the pair, meaning he’s a driven screenwriter with a no nonsense approach to life. Vicky Krieps plays his ‘friend’ (as she describes him to people she meets, aka other men) who is younger and more fanciful.
Second, the film is an ode to Bergman, the man, the myth, the legend with sophisticates asking if he ever felt happiness, others deriding his pomposity, others in awe of his greatness. Vicky’s character has a love hate relationship with Bergman, finding him both disturbing and alluring.
Third, It’s also a travelogue of the Bergman Estate. I’ll certainly never get there and thoroughly enjoyed the formal and informal grand tour.
Fourth, there’s the movie Vicky Krieps’ character is allegedly writing and with which she feels both a struggle and need for help, a movie about a woman who chose a life of motherhood, yet still pines for a romantic passion from her past. She and Roth have differing writing styles and this is part of their conflict.
Fifth, there is the movie Vicky Krieps’ character is actually filming and how autobiographical her screenplay is AND in the end why Tim Roth’s character finds it difficult to listen to her wax poetically.
Which leads me to some ethical questions: is the current emasculating of men some weird vengeance for decades of women being kept down? And does that make it ok? Which leads us to question other hot topics and the over correction on folks who didn’t commit the original ‘crimes’. Without knowing the full history of the Vicky K/Tim Roth relationship, we don’t know if such punishment is justified, but another question that arises in one of the films within a film is: is it worse or more on an infidelity scale to love two people deeply, or to have shallow sex with many more?
The acting and cinematography were top notch, even by the secondary couple; Mia Wasikowska and Anders Landerson Lie.
Any movie that can you a fresh attitude upon leaving is truly special. You’re probably wondering though, “It all sounds sort of depressing, so what’s with the refreshed attitude you felt?”.