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Wild Strawberries Blu-ray Review

Wild Strawberries Blu-ray

“Wild Strawberries” is one of director Ingmar Bergman’s finest films.

“Wild Strawberries” revolves around an elderly man (Dr. Isak Borg) who is about to receive an honorary degree. At first glance, it seems like Dr. Borg has had a rather blessed life. He’s wealthy, he has a son who became a Doctor and a husband, he had a loving wife, he is a greatly respected Doctor, and he lives in a nice home with a housekeeper. As the film progresses, however, we learn that wealth and success is certainly not everything for Isak.

The bulk of the story finds Isak taking a road trip to receive his degree with Marianne (his son’s wife) and 3 young hitchhikers. While on the trip, Marianne (who is having marital troubles with Isak’s son) reveals some not so pleasant realities about Isak and her son. To make matters more complicated, Isak is having vivid dreams and nostalgic flashbacks in which he learns more about himself and how he was perceived.

While an arty film to be sure, “Wild Strawberries” is still probably one of Ingmar Bergman’s most accessible films. On the surface, the story is very simple, but under the surface, it’s a very rich, metaphorical, and clearly auto-biographical character study about family, regret, love, the past, loneliness, and fear. Unlike many Bergman films, however, it’s not entirely gloomy. The character of Isak certainly goes through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the course of the film, but without spoiling what exactly happens, things turn out OK for him in the end. Now, don’t expect this movie to have a tacked on happy ending. The ending feels earned here as you buy the fact that Isak is not only learning from his mistakes, but is hopefully going to change his life and demeanor.

Video/Audio:

Presented in 1.33:1 1080p, the B&W print is positively jaw dropping B&W. The restoration is near flawless as each frame is cleaner and clearer than it has ever been. The only downside here is the fact that the white subtitles blend in a little too much with the film.

I have no complaint with the better than average Uncompressed Mono track. It’s a very crisp track that is snap, crackle, and pop free.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring an essay by Mark Le Fanu.
* An intro by Ingmar Bergman.
* “Behind The Scenes Of Wild Strawberries”- 16 minutes of Ingmar Bergman’s silent footage from the set of “Wild Strawberries.” Swedish Film Institute employee Jan Wengstrom provides narration over the footage. The narration provides factoids about the footage and what exactly is being presented on screen.
* “Ingmar Bergman On Life And Work”- AN insightful made for TV documentary that contains detailed conversations between Ingmar Bergman and filmmaker Jorn Donner. Discussions range from fame and writing to Sweden and his parents.
* Commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie. Cowie provides some history about Bergman’s troubled life and discusses the personal nature of “Wild Strawberries,” the dream sequences, the characters, and much more. A solid track all around.

Summary: For Criterion buffs, film buffs, and Bergman buffs, “Wild Strawberries” is an essential buy. If you aren’t into slower paced human interest stories, this isn’t the film for you.

June 26, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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