Wild Strawberries (1957)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

Crotchety retired doctor Isak Borg travels from Stockholm to Lund, Sweden, with his pregnant and unhappy daughter-in-law, Marianne, in order to receive an honorary degree from his alma mater. Along the way, they encounter a series of hitchhikers, each of whom causes the elderly doctor to muse upon the pleasures and failures of his own life. These include the vivacious young Sara, a dead ringer for the doctor's own first love.

Wild Strawberries possesses […] the kind of unflashy lyricism that is the property of many of the best films of the fifties—one might cite such near-contemporary works as Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954), Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955), or Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajda, 1958).

Far in the future for Bergman lay searing dramas like Persona (1966), where we could say the grammar of cinema is “dismantled”—brilliantly, of course, yet at the cost, perhaps, of a certain human coherence.

Mark Le Fanu