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bergman island

★★★★

starring: tim roth, vicky krieps, mia wasikowska, and anders danielsen lie

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.

They say that you should never meet your heroes. When I met Bill Nighy in New Zealand and subsequently bumped into him at a urinal in London’s West End (a story for another day) he was an absolutely wonderful human being. For a film that’s a complex musing on everything from the broken complexity of our heroes to the repetitive circle of art imitating life, Bergman Island is an accessible, light, romantic treat.

A filmmaking couple living in America, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the Summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films. As days spent separately pass by, the fascination for the island operates on Chris and souvenirs of her first love resurface. Lines between reality and fiction will then progressively blur and tear our couple even more apart.

You don’t have to know anything about director Ingmar Bergman to enjoy Bergman Island (I had to Google him to be honest). Narratively it plays as a romance that ebbs and flows in a particularly natural way. Bergman Island also pulls off something that is incredibly hard to achieve: having another story, a film script that Chris has written, begin to come to life amongst the other tale. 

Bergman Island manages to pose the most complex questions especially around hero worship and if flaws are redeemable in light of artistic genius. The complex and flawed character of Ingmar Bergman lies heavily over the island and Chris and Tony’s relationship and the juxtaposition of which raises some deep questions. But within it all there is a lightness to the whole proceedings with a splash of romance and gentle humour making it thoroughly accessible and entertaining. 

For a film that’s a complex musing on everything from the broken complexity of our heroes to the repetitive circle of art imitating life, Bergman Island is an accessible, light, romantic treat.

★★★★