Bergman Island

Bergman Island

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If Bergman Island, Marie Nyreröd’s documentary on the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, feels somewhat haphazard and incomplete, it is for a good reason. This is a significant condensation of a three-part television work entitled Bergman Complete, which dedicates two separate episodes to Bergman’s theater and film work, and another to his beloved home island of Fårö. This version of Nyreröd’s efforts tends to focus on the more familiar touchstones of Bergman’s career (Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal), though it does go significantly in-depth on the guilt he feels over his many failures as a husband and a father. Bergman has always been a loquacious and intriguing camera subject (there’s a wonderful, childlike purity in the way he threads up an old firelight projector), though I can’t help but feel something important has been lost in the work’s abridgement for stateside release. Nyreröd’s original cut is currently available for purchase on Region 2 DVD. I’d also recommend interested viewers check out “The Making of Saraband” documentary on the DVD of Bergman’s reported last film, which touches on some of the same themes as Bergman Island and also shows the master at work.

Image/Sound

The sounds and sights of Bergman's island home are transfixing. That said, edge enhancement and combing effects abound throughout this obviously inexpensively shot video documentary, and dialogue, while clear, is a bit on the tinny side.

Extras

Aside from an essay by director Marie Nyreröd, the only feature on this DVD is a very-watchable video filmography by Peter Cowie aptly titled "Bergman 101."

Overall

Bergman Island isn't a keeper, but it reveals that Bergman wasn't, at least in real life, a merchant of doom and gloom.

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Sound 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Extras 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Overall 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5 2.0 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Dual-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • Swedish 2.0 Stereo
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • "Bergman 101" Video Filmography
  • Essay by Director Marie Nyreröd
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    June 16, 2009
    Distributor
    The Criterion Collection
    Runtime
    83 min
    Rating
    NR
    Year
    2006
    Director
    Marie Nyreröd
    Cast
    Ingmar Bergman, Marie Nyreröd