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Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 3: Wild Strawberries
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • Swedish PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Peter Cowie
  • Introduction by director Ingmar Bergman
  • Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work, a ninety-minute documentary by filmmaker and author Jörn Donner
  • Behind-the-scenes footage shot by Bergman

Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, 3: Wild Strawberries

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
1957 | 92 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $299.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: November 20, 2018
Review Date: July 16, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

In honor of Ingmar Bergman’s one hundredth birthday, the Criterion Collection is proud to present the most comprehensive collection of his films ever released on home video. One of the most revelatory voices to emerge from the postwar explosion of international art-house cinema, Bergman was a master storyteller who startled the world with his stark intensity and naked pursuit of the most profound metaphysical and spiritual questions. The struggles of faith and morality, the nature of dreams, and the agonies and ecstasies of human relationships—Bergman explored these subjects in films ranging from comedies whose lightness and complexity belie their brooding hearts to groundbreaking formal experiments and excruciatingly intimate explorations of family life.

Arranged as a film festival with opening and closing nights bookending double features and centerpieces, this selection spans six decades and thirty-nine films—including such celebrated classics as The Seventh Seal, Persona, and Fanny and Alexander alongside previously unavailable works like Dreams, The Rite, and Brink of Life. Accompanied by a 248-page book with essays on each program, as well as by more than thirty hours of supplemental features, Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema traces themes and images across Bergman’s career, blazing trails through the master’s unequaled body of work for longtime fans and newcomers alike.


PICTURE

Disc three of Criterion’s large 30-disc box set, Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema, presents Wild Strawberries on a dual-layer disc. This disc is basically an exact clone of the individual Blu-ray edition Criterion released in 2013, save for the menu, so it makes use of the same 2K restoration (scanned from the 35mm original camera negative) that was the basis for the presentation on that disc. It has been encoded at 1080p/24hz high-definition.

Watching the film and then making sample comparisons between this presentation and the one on the original disc it’s easy to see the presentations are, if not exactly the same, pretty damn close, at least on my television screen. The image still delivers a crisp and sharp black and white image, renders the film’s grain perfectly, and delivers all of the fine details (the wrinkles on Isak’s face, the textures of his jacket, and much more) effortlessly. Grayscale is exceptional and black levels are strong, and contrast looks good, though the opening dream sequence is still boosted, which is of course by design.

The print is in superb condition and artifacts are not a concern. Overall it still looks incredible, though offers no improvement over the previous disc.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The track sounds the same so I’m going to just simply copy what I wrote in the article for the original release:

The lossless linear PCM 1.0 Swedish mono track is dated, coming off flat and fairly hollow, with the music delivering a bit of a harsh edge and mild distortion. It is what it is but the track doesn’t present any noticeable damage such as pops, static, or drops.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion does load this set with a number of supplements and are (so far) pretty consistent in porting material over from previous editions. Everything from the original Blu-ray edition appears here.

Making it over yet again (it was recorded for their DVD edition) is Peter Cowie’s audio commentary, a fine if overly scholarly track. Cowie is a wealth of knowledge on the subject of Bergman and he relates how Bergman developed the script and how aspects of his life that played a part in writing/making the film. He talks about the cast and how Sjörström came to be involved in the film, deconstructs the dream sequence and how it will be played out later in the film, the symbolism found within, and talks about the look and ultimately its reception and impact on Bergman’s career. As usual it does sound as though Cowie is reading from notes and/or a script, and this can drag it out a bit, but he does offer a dense amount of information and is worth a listen. (Since it was recorded for the DVD edition Cowie does still refer to “this DVD” throughout.)

An introduction by Ingmar Bergman also makes its way over, and these pop up sporadically throughout the set. This was shot for what I assume was a TV screening of the film. For 4-minutes the director talks about the film, the personal aspects, and how he got Sjörström to star in it.

Replacing a stills gallery found on the original DVD edition, Criterion now includes Behind the Scenes Footage. Running 16-minutes the footage is silent, but we do get English narration from Jan Wengström. The footage is wonderful, offering a glimpse of the cast and crew prepping sets or getting ready for shooting, with some footage here and there of cast members talking and bonding between takes. The narration offers very little that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, but Wengström talks about the production, casting, and how the cast and crew got along on set. The footage is mostly black-and-white but the last few minutes are in colour. All of it was shot on 16mm.

Also carried over is the 90-minute documentary/conversation with Bergman filmed in 1998 called Ingmar Bergman: On Life and Work, which features filmmaker Jörn Donner talking with him. It has very little to do with Wild Strawberries and is more about his life and how it has influenced his work. He also talks about his process, and shares musings on theater, film, politics, writing, his wives, his life on Fårö, and more. It’s dense and Bergman is thankfully humourous, especially since Donner is about as dry as can be, but it can be, unfortunately, a little too clinical.

The 247-page book that comes with the set presents the same essay by Mark Le Fanu that was written for the Blu-ray edition. Cowie’s contribution to the original DVD is still missing.

Again, it’s a wonderful set of features, providing some background to Bergman’s influences and nicely contextualizing the film in relation to the rest of his work.

7/10

CLOSING

Still a wonderful disc for the film, providing a wonderful presentation and a terrific set of features that will probably prove quite helpful to new comers.




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Purchase From:
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