‘Bergman’s Island’: admiration for the work or the author

The greatest strength (and at the same time weakness) of the film is to focus on the places that surrounded the filmmaker, avoiding at all costs delving into his work

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Currently in theaters, the film Bergmann’s Island It transports us to a fascinating place, not only for having a beautiful natural setting, but also for having been the place chosen by the film master Ingmar Bergman to live, write and film some of his famous films. In addition, on this island he would also die in 2007, at the age of 89.

Since 1906, the Swedish Selma Lagenlorf, the first woman in history to have received the Nobel Prize for Literature, brought us closer to the natural beauty of her country through her book Nils Holgersson’s wonderful journey through Sweden. And it is that perhaps this is the greatest strength of the film Bergmann’s Island: to focus on the wonderful places that surrounded the master of cinema on this island, avoiding at all costs delving into the aspects of his work, since surely there was a huge risk of being judged as a pretentious work.

seen like this, Bergmann’s Island effortlessly becomes a pleasant journey through a small island in Sweden called Faro, where we can explore the places where Bergman lived and some locations from his films, becoming, hand in hand with the protagonists, true intruders, granting us attributions that Certainly if Bergman were alive he wouldn’t let us, like staying at his windmill house or snooping through his things at the beach house.

However, it is precisely this uncompromising environment, tourist route style, that also contains the greatest weakness of this film, since it reduces to a minimum the possibilities of getting closer to the interior of this artist’s work, inexorably subjecting us to the superficiality.

An example of this is a small evocation made of the film screams and whispers (1972), written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. In it, the Swedish filmmaker tells us, among other topics, the thin line between life and death. The character played by its protagonist, the actress Harriet Andersson, is shown in life through the screams and desperation caused by the suffering of her illness and, later, when she dies, she manifests herself again in a more silent way, through her whispers. : “…I’m dead but I can’t fall asleep…”, she tells her sisters and maid.

A strong argument materialized in a beautiful and complex family history full of meanings, which, however, in the evocation that is made of it in the Bergmann’s Island It makes no sense, since it is limited to presenting a projection, for a few seconds, without any type of context.

Hence we say that the greatest strength of Bergmann’s Island and, at the same time, its greatest weakness is not having any pretense —at all— to explore the work of this great master despite the inevitable, but slight evocations that are made throughout the film of his cinematographic creation and his life. Even more confusing is the fact that the story then decides to go through a parallel story; a self-referential script on which its protagonist works, as if wanting to trivially imitate Bergman’s style or, in the best of cases, describe the difficulties of the creative process.

Maybe works like Bergmann’s Island, somewhat disconcerting, invite us to question ourselves about what we really love: the work or its creator; Or perhaps, what he really wants to show us, without much success, is the way in which many build fetishes from their own superficiality, finding someone to follow in some public figure, going through the same places he went or getting some souvenir; but without really ever finding anything beyond the merely material or, perhaps it is rather, as the protagonist says: “I like Bergman but I don’t know why”.

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‘Bergman’s Island’: admiration for the work or the author