Wild Strawberries (1959)

 ●  Swedish ● 1 hr 31 mins

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With the exception of his elderly housekeeper Miss Agda who he treats almost like a surrogate platonic wife, widowed seventy-eight year old Dr. Isak Borg, a former medical doctor and professor, has retreated from any human contact, partly his own want but partly the decision of others who do not want to spend time with him because of his cold demeanor. He is traveling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree. Instead of flying as was the original plan, he decides to take the day long drive instead. Along for the ride is his daughter-in-law Marianne, who had been staying with him for the month but has now decided to go home. The many stops and encounters along the way make him reminisce about various parts of his life. Those stops which make him reminisce directly are at his childhood summer home, at the home of his equally emotionally cold mother, and at a gas station where the attendants praise him as a man for his work. But the lives of other people they encounter almost mirror his own, including hitchhikers Sara, Viktor and Anders - who remind him of his cousin Sara who he was going to marry, himself and his irresponsible brother Sigfrid who Sara eventually married - a bickering married couple Sten and Berit Alman, and Marianne and her husband and Isak's son Evald, whose marriage is as strained as was his own.
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Did you know? Final screen appearance of Victor Sjöström. Read More
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Direction

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Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
Swedish
Spoken Languages:
English, Latin
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Goofs:
Continuity
Marianne says she is going to go swimming at the old house, but when she returns her hair does not appear to be wet.

Continuity
The front license plate on the VW disappears when untying the rope.
Trivia:
Ingmar Bergman has described in the interview how he came up with the idea while driving from Stockholm to Dalarna, stopping in Uppsala where he had been born and raised, and driving by outside his grandmother's old house, when he suddenly began to think about how it would be if he could open the door and inside it would be just as it had been during his childhood. "So it struck me - what if you could make a film about this; that you just walk up in a realistic way and open a door, and then you walk into your childhood, and then you open another door and come back to reality, and then you make a turn around a street corner and arrive in some other period of your existence, and everything goes on, lives. That was actually the idea behind Wild Strawberries (1957)"

Cinematographer Gunnar Fischer says that several scenes had to be shot indoors due to Victor Sjöström's poor health. "We had to make some very bad back-projection in the car because we never knew if Victor would come back alive the next day." Nevertheless, as long as Victor was home by 5:15 P.M. each day, "and had his whiskey punctually, all went well."

Ingmar Bergman wrote the script while he was in hospital.

According to the Swedish DVD release (which contains an introductory interview with Bergman himself), Ingmar Bergman wrote the movie with Victor Sjöström in mind. He and the production company agreed that there would be no movie without Sjöström. Bergman didn't dare to call his idol Sjöström himself about the movie thou, so the head of Swedish movie industry made the call. Sjöström was initially reluctant, due to his high age, but agreed to meet with Bergman to discuss the movie. So Bergman went to his apartment and talked about it, Sjöström said he'll think about it. The next morning Sjöström called and agreed on the part on one condition. As long as Bergman promised Sjöström that he'd be able to come home and have his whiskey grog at 5 pm every day, he would do the movie.

Final screen appearance of Victor Sjöström.

The dummy that Isak Borg mistakes for a pedestrian during the dream sequence was constructed from a balloon and a silk stocking.