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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • Swedish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Commentary by film scholar Peter Cowie
  • Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work, a 90-minute documentary by filmmaker and author Jörn Donner
  • Stills gallery, featuring rare behind-the-scenes photos

Wild Strawberries


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: , Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, , Jullan Kindahl, Folke Sundquist, , Naima Wifstrand, , Gertrud Fridh, , Sif Ruud, , Max von Sydow
1957 | 91 Minutes | Licensor: Svensk Filmindustri

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #139
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: February 12, 2002
Review Date: June 3, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

The film that catapulted Bergman to the forefront of world cinema is the director's richest, most humane movie. Traveling to receive an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg (masterfully played by the veteran Swedish director Victor Sjöström), is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and accept the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries captures a startling voyage of self-discovery and renewed belief in mankind.

Forum members rate this film 8.9/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterion’s DVD of Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries presents the film in the aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on a dual-layer disc. Because of the aspect ratio it has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

All of these years later the DVD’s transfer still holds up incredibly well. It can be a bit fuzzy around the edges and never looks intensely sharp, but detail is there and is more than adequate. Contrast is decent, and gray levels are nicely rendered, though I thought blacks could crush a bit. The opening has had the contrast boosted but this is intentional on Bergman’s part.

There some noise noticeable in darker scenes but the transfer is otherwise free of digital artifacts. The print shows a few minor blemishes and some mild pulsating but up to this point this was the cleanest I had seen the film.

The new Blu-ray bests it but the DVD’s transfer still offers a decent rendering of the film.

7/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly 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 Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is a product of its time, coming off hollow and weak, with little power and noticeable edge. The track has some minor background noise that is noticeable here and there as well.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

First up for supplements 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.

Next up is the 90-minute documentary/conversation with Bergman filmed in 1998 called Ingmar Bergman: On Life and Work, which has 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 since Donner is about as dry as can be, but it can be, unfortunately, a little too clinical.

The disc then closes with a small stills gallery which displays behind-the-scene and production photos. It’s navigable using the arrows on your remote. This release also comes with an insert featuring a brief essay by Cowie, which basically summarizes elements from his track while offering a few other tidbits.

Disappointingly not the edition one would expect considering the film’s stature, but it offers a couple of lengthy pieces worth looking through.

6/10

CLOSING

I would have expected more in supplements but Criterion’s transfer is strong and for those that don’t have Blu-ray capabilities yet this DVD is worth picking up.


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