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Wild Strawberries (The Criterion Collection) (1959)

Victor Sjöström , Bibi Andersson , Ingmar Bergman  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Jullan Kindahl
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Allan Ekelund
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Swedish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UQ7T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,848 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wild Strawberries (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer
  • New & improved subtitle translation
  • Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work, a 90 minute documentary by filmmaker and author Jorn Donner
  • Stills gallery, featuring rare, behind-the-scenes photos

Editorial Reviews

The film that catapulted Bergman to the forefront of world cinema is the director's richest, most humane movie. Traveling to receive an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg (masterfully played by the veteran Swedish director Victor Sjöström), is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and accept the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries captures a startling voyage of self-discovery and renewed belief in mankind.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When film was an art form June 21, 2004
In this symbolic tale of an old man's journey from emotional isolation to a kind of personal renaissance, Ingmar Bergman explores in part his own past, and in doing so rewards us all with a tale of redemption and love.

Victor Sjostrom, then 80 years old, stars as Professor Isak Borg whose self-indulgent cynicism has left him isolated from others. Sjostrom, whose work goes back to the very beginning of the Swedish cinema in the silent film era, both as an actor and as a director, gives a brilliant and compelling performance. All the action of the film takes place in a single day with flashbacks and dream sequences to Borg's past as Borg wakes and goes on a journey to receive a "Jubilee Doctor" degree from the University of Lund. Bergman wrote that the idea for the film came upon him when he asked the question, "What if I could suddenly walk into my childhood?" He then imagined a film "about suddenly opening a door, emerging in reality, then turning a corner and entering another period of one's existence, and all the time the past is going on, alive."

Bibi Andersson plays both the Sara from Borg's childhood, the cousin he was to marry, and the hitchhiker Sara who with her two companions befriends him with warmth and affection. The key scene is when the ancient Borg in dreamscape comes upon the Sara of his childhood out gathering wild strawberries. Borg looks on (unnoticed of course) as his brother, the young Sigfrid, ravishes her with a kiss which she returns passionately; and, as the wild strawberries fall from her bowl onto her apron, staining it red, Borg experiences the pain of infidelity and heartbreak once again. Note that in English we speak of losing one's "cherry"; here the strawberries symbolize emotionally much the same thing for Sara.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of 2013 Criterion Blu-ray and 2002 Criterion DVD February 12, 2002
*** UPDATED JUL-27-2014 ***

Along with classics like "Ikiru", "Tokyo Story", and "Umberto D", the 1957 Swedish masterpiece "Wild Strawberries" is one of the greatest films about old age ever made. With Ingmar Bergman's lyrical and sensitive direction and Gunnar Fischer's fairly expressionistic black-and-white cinematography, the film tells the tale of an old man who reminisces about his past that is filled with loss, regrets, and loneliness. The film is in several respects similar to Federico Fellini's 1963 film "8 1/2". Both films open with a nightmare sequence, and mix dreams, flashbacks, and reality throughout the narrative. Both are about a lonely and disillusioned intellectual who embarks on a journey of self-examination. Both men in the films are haunted by the past and tormented by the present, and have to deal with unsettling issues about their lives, their work, and their beliefs. And both ultimately manage to reach some sort of emotional closure.

Criterion's Region-A Blu-ray release of "Wild Strawberries" looks stunningly beautiful, making Fischer's gorgeous deep-focus cinematography irresistible to look at. A new 2K transfer was made for this Blu-ray, yielding a nearly pristine picture, in its original 4:3 screen aspect ratio. The 2002 Criterion DVD edition (all-region NTSC) still holds its own, but the eleven-year-old print pales in comparison to the Blu-ray, especially in the presentation of high contrast and deep blacks, which the Blu-ray format is inherently a superior medium for presenting such elements.

Swedish dialogs in the film are supported by optional English subtitles, which look to be identical on both the Blu-ray and DVD. The DVD's subtitles are white letters with black borders.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bergman's Masterwork Poses the Important Question. November 23, 1998
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
In Ingmar Berman's film masterpiece Smultronstallet (or `Wild Strawberries' B&W, 1957), the protagonist, an elderly professor who is facing death, has to come to face to face with a long life that has failed to answer the important questions. He is old now and faced with his own inadequacy and impotence.
Bergman introduces three young people into the drama to introduce life's most important question - that of the existence of God. The old man gives them a ride. One of the young men is thinking about becoming a parson; the other argues that God doesn't exist. The old man offers no opinion to the debate. He is silent, but it is a loud silence. It's a silence that reveals an amazing dimension of loss - the loss of year upon year of not coming to terms with this all-important question.
In one of the final scenes, Bergman masterfully closes in tight on the aged face of Professor Isak Borg (played by Victor Sjostrom). In that shot, we can see the whole universe in his eyes and all of its cares in the bags beneath them. Only Bergman could have directed that scene - only him. It makes Smultronstallet one of the most important films ever made. That one scene, better than any other that I know, captures `loss' on celluloid for all future generations to witness and have to deal with. If you see it, you may find yourself having to look away.
The imagery in Smultronstallet is unparalleled, except by Bergman's own Det Sjunde inseglrt (The Seventh Seal, 1957). Look for the handless watch, the corpse wagon, the sparseness of the first scene, the car windows turning to black - ominous signs are everywhere. Notice the clues that point to Bergman's existential philosophy (the twins write a song for a deaf man - as futile as Sisyphus' labor!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Subtle and Meditative Film
Wild Strawberries is a subtle and meditative film by Ingmar Bergman. The protagonist looks back on his life with regret and sorrow but he also finds things to appreciate that... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Steve R
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by PC
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This was boring
Published 3 months ago by Patsy Tunnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless
The human gamut of life in 90 minutes or so, beautifully photographed in b&w.
I think I will watch again.
Published 4 months ago by pictoinfo
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Man, Take A Look At My Life
There is a quality to Ingmar Bergman's films that make them timeless. Writers such as John Steinbeck, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and most prominently, William Shakespeare, all share the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Collin O'Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-watch for any fan of cinema
Wild Strawberries is a very beautiful, and haunting film about an aging medical professor forced to face his own mortality, as he travels to a university to receive an honorary... Read more
Published 4 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Strawberries
My favorite Ingmar Bergman film namely because this film has a redeeming quality to it at the end and is not too "way out there" for an "art" film. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Siobhan
5.0 out of 5 stars the raw human
A movie that is not only beautiful to look at, but provokes beautiful thoughts about life, past and present. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Alexander C. Schmidt
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Speaks to The Heart
This is such a beautifully filmed movie with such a timeless message that you will not even mind the sub titles. Read more
Published 8 months ago by BellaDonna
5.0 out of 5 stars There are no words
I really can't say much due to the fact that I need to still wrap my head around what I watched. To see your life in retrospect & to understand loneliness, it was just beautiful.
Published 9 months ago by Rachel
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