Archive for February 26th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Sweden 1957 93m) DVD1/2

Aka. Smultronstället

1957: A Human Odyssey

p  Allan Ekelund  d/w  Ingmar Bergman  ph  Gunnar Fischer, Bjorn Thermenius  ed  Eric Rosander  m  Erik Nordgren  art  Gittan Gustaffson

Victor Sjöstrom (Prof.Isak Borg), Ingrid Thulin (Marianne Borg), Bibi Andersson (Sara), Naima Wifstrand (Isak’s mother), Gunnar Björnstrand (Evald Borg), Julian Kindahl (Agda), Folke Sundquist (Anders), Björn Bjelvenstam (Viktor), Gunnel Bröstrom (Berit Almann), Gertrud Fridh (Isak’s wife), Max Von Sydow (Petrol attendant),

So what does Bergman have to do with Kubrick?  Superficially, not much, but there are undoubted subliminal similarities.  Both Bergman’s fifties masterpiece and Kubrick’s sci-fi paragon question where we come from, where we go to, and the very notion of death.  Like in many Bergman films, dreams play a large part, at times uncannily drifting between reality and the subconscious.  Yet we are never made to feel disoriented by Bergman’s approach.  It may have its roots in the vast landscape of the human memory, but it’s easy to empathise with both the elderly hero and Bergman himself.

Isak Borg is a 78 year old retired professor who is on his way to Lund cathedral to receive an honorary degree for his services to science.  His companion for the journey is his beautiful daughter-in-law, Marianne, and on the way he recounts not only how his life has lead him to this point, but how it might have been different.  Along the way, he gives a lift to a young girl, her intended and a chaperone (who also has feelings for the girl).  Borg’s memories once more rekindled by the uncanny resemblance between the girl and the cousin he once loved. (more…)

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