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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 (105 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: 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 (105 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UQ7T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,306 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
105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When film was an art form June 21, 2004
Format:DVD
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 Another great Criterion DVD February 12, 2002
Format:DVD
Bergman's WILD STRAWBERRIES is often accompanied by films like Kurosawa's IKIRU, Ozu's TOKYO STORY, and de Sica's UMBERTO D whenever great films about old age are discussed. In this DVD's audio commentary, film scholar Peter Cowie also adds the recent Cannes winner AN ETERNITY AND A DAY to the list of such films. But what Bergman's film resembles the most, in my opinion, is Fellini's 8 1/2. Both films open with an nightmare sequence, and audaciously mix dreams and reality throughout the course of the narrative. Both are about a lonely and disillusioned intellectual who embarks on a journey of self-discovery. 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 religions. And both ultimately manage to reach some sort of emotional closure. The two films differ, of course, mainly in the tone with which the director presents the subjects. Fellini's film is exhilarating, ireverent, and ironic, while Bergman's is sedate, gloomy, depressing...
There is nothing depressing, however, about the quality of the new Criterion DVD version of WILD STRAWBERRIES, which is yet another standard-setting release from the company that has been setting such standards for the past 18 years. The DVD's spotless video transfer -- the result of a new print and frame-by-frame digital cleanup -- has made the film look at least 40 years younger. It is a tremendous improvement over Criterion's laserdisc release in 1991 in that it looks much sharper, has much better contrast (evident in the stark photograhy used in the opening nightmare sequence), and much clearer details. The mono audio track has also gone through restoration, and it sounds much cleaner, stronger, and clearer.
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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
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 11 days 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 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 months ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking back on life
Very well done story of how the main character was able to look back on his life and realize he had shut off love and affection. That's how I saw it anyway.
Published 3 months ago by James J. Hagerty
5.0 out of 5 stars Significant Life Lessons
In a time-frame of less than 24 hours, this film touches on all major stages of human life. The main character, an 80-
year-old man, realizes that he has lived a rigid,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. Sprich
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
What more can be said about this classic? Amazing images, Keen observations into the soul of man. Probably one of those "must see" films for movie buffs. (In Swedish. )
Published 5 months ago by Paul Killam
5.0 out of 5 stars See CHERRY BLOSSOMS for an alternate ending...
Wild Strawberries is one of my all-time favorite films. I won't repeat what others have expressed so well, my purpose here is to draw parallels to another film I loved, Cherry... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Trancelucence
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps his final great film, required viewing that grows better as...
take careful note of this movie from beginning to end and it rewards you deeply.

from the early sly allusion to his other great film, The Seventh Seal (The Criterion... Read more
Published 5 months ago by C. Scanlon
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Age in all its Terrors and small satisfactions..............
Although this film deals with the end of the life of an old man and the haunting that continues to remind him of his past and his many faults and mistakes, it is NOT a depressing... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Raymond Louis Llompart
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