Inventor Carl Åkerblom is a rosy-cheeked 54 year-old admirer of Franz Schubert - and a patient in the psychiatric ward of Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala, after having attempted to beat to ... See full summary »
Inventor Carl Åkerblom is a rosy-cheeked 54 year-old admirer of Franz Schubert - and a patient in the psychiatric ward of Akademiska Hospital in Uppsala, after having attempted to beat to death his fiancée, Pauline Thibault. Together with another patient, Professor Osvald Vogler, they set up a film project: the living talkie. Before long, they set off on a frantic tour with their film, "The Joy of the Joyous Girl"... Written by
Fredrik Klasson <email@example.com>
After his brilliant portrayal of the black sheep Ekhdal in Fanny and Alexander I expected something else from Börje Ahlstedt but didn't know where to find him. I stumbled accidentally on this film that I didn't even know was a Bergman at first. I was completely surprised not only in the acting of not only Ahlstedt but Erland Josephson and Marie Richardson as well, but by Bergman's capacity to come up with so many ideas in a moment in his career when other brilliant directors are long forgotten. Bergman's freshness after fifty years of cinema making is unbelievable. This movie tackles one of the richest ideas available, the relation between life and art, cinema and theater. Using a plot revolving around an inventor in the early cinema that fantasizes about making cinema parlante, a new thing at that time, Bergman addresses a fundamental problem: what is the purpose of art? Is it mere entertainment or does it convey a deeper meaning? The central moment in the film is the presentation to a small and friendly audience comprising mainly friends of the artists of a movie. The representation is interrupted by a fire but the actors go on with the same play on an improvised stage. But the play starts to acquire new meaning when the actors begin improvising about their own problems in life and the audience is also caught in the act. Not to mention that the original play was some nonsense (intended) about a love affair involving Schubert and a virgin prostitute that lived some eighty years after his death. This may seem confusing, but Bergman has his reasons. The title refers to some vision of death that takes the shape of a clown and persecutes the main character who will eventually commit suicide at the end. Depressing, quite cruel, but Bergman masterfully takes the viewer through a large range of emotions. As in Fanny and Alexabnder there are sufficient moments of laughter and/or good disposition throughout. Bergman fans will find a lot of his usual issues, the movie reminded me of Persona to a large extent (the problem of the artificial nature of art, theater and/or cinema)but there are enough original ideas, surprisingly many, to make it interesting in itself and not only because it's a Begrman!
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