You don’t have to watch a lot of Ingmar Bergman movies to understand his cinema. Bergman Island is about a story within a story based on the lives of a filmmaker couple who visit Bergman’s home on Fårö Island, off the Swedish coast. They visit it as a tourist to gain perspective about the stories and movies they are working on.
Directed by French filmmaker Mia Hansen Love, Bergman Island was nominated for the 2021 Palme d’Or. A filmmaking couple who are clearly facing marital woes as well as the much-hated writer’s block visit the Faro Island as a way to feel one with the much-acclaimed director, whose work, as we all know, needs no introduction. He shot multiple movies on Faro Island and also lived there for a large part of his life. The movie pays homage to Bergman’s brilliance and throws light on the kinds of films he made.
Much information about the characters and the backstories is gradually revealed to us, almost as if the makers want the audiences to savor in every moment of the film. A person watching the movie has to sit till the very climax to find out the real purpose of Tony and Chris’s lives, played by the talented Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth. The movie, however, belongs to Krieps, who delivers a much layered and standout performance.
Talking about the technical aspects of the film, we get to see a lot of green and blue hues in the scenes, imagery iconic to both Bergman and the Faro Islands. To talk about in one sentence, Bergman Island is a movie that celebrates art and artists making art. The Island at several points almost seems like a metaphor to the several struggling writers and filmmakers, who need to seek inspiration and interventions, but within themselves. Many people come to the Island to seek answers and solace, not knowing that it all lies within themselves.
There is a part about Chris narrating her plot (film story) to Tony, called The White Dress, about former lovers attending a wedding which stars Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie. At this point, we realize that the couple is not very acrimonious with each other, and maybe this could be Chris’s cry for help to Tony, that not everything is right in their marriage. The wedding sequence haunts you and stays with you even after the film is over. It has been written and shot beautifully and at times makes you think if it is indeed an autobiographical instance of Chris’s life.
Hansen Love has even shot the intimate scenes with many nuances, and at no point do they feel forced or inaccurate. To all cinema lovers, Bergman Island is a wonderful film to get an insight into how writers craft screenplays and how involved the people are in the movie they make. This movie can best be said to be a tribute paid by Mia Hansen Love to Ingrid Bergman.
Bergman Island is a 2021 Drama film written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. It stars Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth in the lead roles.