Why yes, it was a Bergman double bill tonight… found both items at the library, but it was probably Dave Blakeslee’s recent consideration of this film that really inspired me to borrow them. You might notice me in the comments for that post wondering what would I think of it now… cos I really did like it a lot back when I first saw it in my late teens, just as I did Wings of Desire, and I generally haven’t been a fan of the Bergman films I’ve seen after it just like I generally haven’t been a Wenders fan either. Now, on the slightly wrong side of my mid-30s, I’m not as enamoured of Wings of Desire, but I still quite liked Wild Strawberries on tonight’s viewing, possibly the first since 1994… I’ve got it on tape, apparently, but I don’t know if I’ve actually watched it; I may have just taped it so I’d have a copy for the collection. BUT—just to drag Wenders’s film into the discussion one last time even though it really has nothing to do with it—whereas I do recall why Wings worked for me back when I was 18 or so, I can’t remember what drew me to Wild Strawberries. I remember the UNSW film society showing it in 1994 (taped off SBS) in the old film studies hut with the video projector, I’d never seen a Bergman film before but knew of him by reputation (how often have I used that phrase lately?)… why did this story of an old man looking back at his life on a road trip work for me back then? And does it matter? Maybe on some instinctive level I just sensed it was indeed Great Art or something. Now I’m perhaps not as blown away, not as drawn in by it, though certainly I’ve got no problems declaring it a very good bit of filmmaking whose classic status is justified, even if it is one I admittedly admire rather than love. Good to revisit it.
Wild Strawberries (1957)