October 4, 2021

VIFF 2021 | Romancing Swedish Cinema – 'Bergman Island'

"Bergman was just as cruel in his art as he was in life."
Vicky Krieps Mia Hansen-Løve | Bergman Island | VIFF 2021
Vancouver International Film Festival
VIFF 2021—French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve looks to Sweden and the films of Scandinavian auteur Ingmar Bergman in a film about artists and film directors, who visit Fårö Island where he lived and filmed many of his works, looking for inspiration. Bergman Island is a clever rumination on romance, marriage, and artistic fulfillment.

European actors Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth star as a married couple, Chris and Tony, both artists and filmmakers, enamoured with the eponymous island on a working vacation as they take in the local tourist attractions dedicated to the acclaimed filmmaker. There's so much sophisticated, intellectual humour about cinema, writing, and filmmaking that masks how delightfully little happens in the film's first half before we're really introduced to our limited set of characters and their interior motivations.

Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie also star, sort mirroring the elder couple, as ex-lover characters within Chris' meta-script being told to Tony as she struggles to write her story and find a satisfying ending. Both couples are clearly a proxy for Hansen-Løve herself in using the therapeutic film as a metaphor for her own struggles of balancing work and family or artistry and love.

Hansen-Løve crafts such a creative expression of being both an artist and parent using Bergman as a cultural touchstone. Its idyllic Swedish location and narrative turns provide such a cinematic wrapping to its pedestrian topic of writing and endings.

Bergman Island screens at the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema series at the Vancouver Playhouse on October 5th and 7th. It also screens at the VIFF Centre and will available to stream through video on demand starting October 15th.

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