Tonight: Something Worth Seeing

Cinematheque Ontario continues its Ingmar Bergman retrospective with a screening of Wild Strawberries at 6:30 PM. I just popped this one in the VCR and was instantly reminded of its beauty. The dialogue in this film is wonderful; the acting is remarkable. Some of the snappy interchanges between Dr. Borg and Miss Agda actually had me laughing out loud. Amateur screenwriters should probably take a look at this one if they want to get a feel for natural, flowing conversation.

Wild Strawberries is a movie about choices - choices we've made in life, and the consequences resulting from our action or inaction. Isak Borg, played beautifully by Victor Sjostrom, is an old man who has pretty much withdrawn from society. Unfortunately, he is scheduled to receive an honourary doctorate and is thus forced to step inside the world of interaction. After experiencing an eerie dream in which he sees himself inside a casket, Isak decides to drive the 400-mile distance from Stockholm to Lund in his antique car. Along the way, he picks up three young travelers and is immediately revitalized by their energy. He realizes that, like a corpse, he has become rigid and devoid of spirit. He realizes that isolation is a mistake.

Despite these somber revelations, Wild Strawberries is surprisingly optimistic. The film illustrates that it is never too late to change the present, the current state of things. The aged Dr. Borg even decides to proposition his maid in attempts to redefine their relationship. Wild Strawberries is also about embracing both the past and the present. Nostalgia always seems to flood the body with a sense of loss and sadness, but, during the final sequence, we get the feeling that Dr. Borg has decided to accept his past, learn from it, and move forward. A handless-clock motif runs throughout the film, perhaps to remind us that time is nothing and everything. Existentialists seem to get a lot out of this movie.

Wild Strawberries might be tough to sit through if you've given up on the black and white thing. And it is definitely not the fastest moving film. But, at 90 minutes, it won't take up too much of your time and you might discover that time really doesn't matter; and you might discover the beauty of Bergman. And, people, this is a new 35mm print! So let's embrace it.

There are limited tickets available for tonight's screening. For more information, visit the website.

Another Note: Persona, Bergman's masterpiece, will be screened on June 13th at 8:30 PM.

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