Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Review of ‘Bergman’s Island’, starring Tim Roth

Director Mia Hansen-Løve travels to Fårö, Sweden, to reflect on filmmaking and the ties that bind art and life.

    This is not the first time that Mia Hansen-Løve has explored the relationship between cinema and life, the possibility or impossibility of reconciling creative work in this medium with the needs (logistical, affective, economic) that a couple and family demand, the way in which fictional and personal stories feed off each other. Thing, the latter, logical when dealing with a filmmaker who usually tells (and is told) from the first person more or less veiled. Perhaps it is in ‘Le père de mes enfants’ (2009), his best film, where he has addressed all these issues in a more complex way. In ‘Bergman’s Island’, less bitter and lighter, Hansen-Løve returns to the dichotomy (if it is possible) between art and life, also between the artist and the personthrough the story of a couple of filmmakers (Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth) who seek inspiration on the island of Fårö, the place that welcomed Bergman.

    The director explores that idea in two different ways. One, through the couple’s relationship with Bergman. The protagonist, who is searching hard but without luck in the work of the Swedish filmmaker (in her the Persona glasses are just a souvenir), dares to question the director she admires as a person. She also gives herself the opportunity to deduce how the decisions she made in her life and that she now judges reverberate in her work. Hansen-Løve is not always equally inspired by the text: perhaps it was not necessary to verbalize everything. But it is very interesting to see how she demystifies – with Krieps as an alter ego and from knowledge and affection – one of her teachers, and how that helps her understand herself and get closer to what she pursues as a filmmaker. The other way in which ‘Bergman’s Island’ explores the binomial cinema and life is through metafiction. This is where the film rises. The way in which the protagonist tries to understand an impossible love through her own writing and repair the damage it causes her leads to one of the most beautiful (and painful) recent films about the search for answers and solutions in art.

    For fans of films that explore the relationship between cinema and life

    The best: the emotional dialogue between the protagonist and her fictional alter ego.

    The worst: perhaps Bergman’s cinema is talked about superficially.

    DATA SHEET

    Address: Mia Hansen – Love Distribution: Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie, Joel Spira, Oscar Reis Country: France Year: 2021 Release date: 1–07-2022 Gender: Drama Script: Mia Hansen-Løve Duration: 112 minutes

    Synopsis: A couple of filmmakers, Chris and Tony, settle for the summer on the mythical Swedish island of Färo. In this amazing setting, where Bergman lived and filmed his most famous works, the couple hope to find inspiration for his next films. As the days pass, Chris’s fascination with the place grows and memories of his first love resurface. As their respective scripts progress, and the effect of the island scenery becomes more apparent on Chris and Tony, the line between fact and fiction will blur.

    Source: Fotogramas

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