Dallas Movie Screening

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Friday, October 22, 2021

Bergman Island

Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) are screenwriters who travel to Fårö, the island that served as writer/director Ingmar Bergman’s inspiration, to focus on their work in writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve’s film “Bergman Island.” For the most part, Hasen-Løve’s movie is a straight-forward examination of these two writers, delving into their personal lives and their artistic process, before attempting to trip up the audience with a blurring of fantasy and reality in the second half of the film.

Krieps’s Chris is the main focus. She’s insecure in the shadow of her partner’s success and unsure of her own work and her choices in life. As she tells Tony about her latest screenplay the character of Amy (Mia Wasikowska), the protagonist of her screenplay, is introduced to the audience. Here, we begin to see Chris’s inner workings and history. The Amy character is clearly Chris and Amy’s got issues, suggesting that so does Chris and implying that Chris is using her work as a method of dealing with some inner tension. While this reverie expands, it doesn’t feel altogether necessary, coming across as a way to increase the film’s run time.

One thing that kept bothering me – Chris’s and Tony’s relationship is purposefully kept vague. Yes, they are traveling together, which denotes a certain level of connection, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are 100% devoted. Early in the movie, we learn that they (Chris and Tony) have a child together. Soon after, Chris skips out on a planned outing to tour the island with a man she’s just met in a gift shop. When she meets this man, she refers to Tony as her “friend” providing more confusion to their relationship. How should we as viewers feel about this interaction? Is Chris flirting, does this encounter suggest that she’ll eventually cheat on Tony, maybe they have an open relationship?

There was really nothing I particularly enjoyed about this movie. The photography was pedestrian, lacking in any sort of cinematic style or appeal. This is especially disappointing considering the scenic vistas the crew had available to them. The characters were not interesting, and the later side story that weaves in and out doesn’t add much (as already stated) but confusion. It was a struggle to get invested enough in the story or the characters to care what was happening on screen. In short, “Bergman Island” plods dully along. You won’t miss much by skipping this one.

(Review by Bret Oswald)

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