urf. I’ve just eaten the

urf. I’ve just eaten the biggest roast dinner in history. It was delicious, but now I can’t move. I’m pretty good in the kitchen, but sometimes I think it may be bad for my health! I was going to go down to w2 for the live music that’s on tonight, but I think I’ll skip it. Still, I can reach the pinot grigio without leaving my seat, so shouldn’t complain.
Anyway, I promised to say a bit more about the film. It was excellent. When you consider that it was made in 1957, the year that The Bridge On The River Kwai swept the board at the Oscars, and Peyton Place and Gunfight At The OK Corral were filling the cinemas, it can’t possibly have had a huge audience even then. Today, the New Park was about one-third full – maybe fifty people. All I can say is that a lot of people missed an opportunity to see a great piece of cinema on the big screen.
Woody Allen used Wild Strawberries as the basis for his film Another Woman, which I’ve not seen. Watching it, you can see Bergman’s influence on European and Hollywood cinema. This is a road movie, but not in the usual style. It’s more a journey of self discovery, as opposed to the American ideal of a journey into a great white future. The main protagonist, Isak Borg, confronts his past and discovers himself, rediscovering friends and family as he goes. The story relates a single day in his life, when, as an old man, he travels from Stockholm to Lund to collect an award. Along the way, he bonds with his daughter-in-law, befriends some young travellers, visits his mother and confronts his own demons through dreams and flashbacks.
The script, cinematography and acting are all brilliant. There is subtle mixture of cold hardness and heartwarming tenderness, moments of sadness and moments that are genuinely funny. The highlights for me were the performances by Victor Sjöström as Isak (Sjöström was an important director in his own right) and the phenomenally beautiful Ingrid Thulin as his daughter-in-law, Marianne. Both were good friends of Ingmar Bergman, and it is obvious that the three of them were able to communicate well in the making of the film – there is a natural rapport.
I suspect the print of Wild Strawberries I saw today is doing the rounds of art cinemas in the UK at the moment. If it comes to a cinema near you, go and see it.
(EDIT: Wild Strawberries received an Oscar nomination in 1959 for Best Screenplay.)