A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.A couple retreat to the island that inspired Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming films when the lines between reality and fiction start to blur.
The first hour or so is a very careful and brilliantly written setup for the second hour in which doubles and doubling will appear - characters become narrators and also understudies for other characters, and virtually every sentence that they say can be interpreted metafictionally, as they are aware of being actors in a film (or in the film within a film, as well). It's indeed a film that interprets itself and its own mechanisms, especially its writing process, which is not new (Godard, for example), of course, but this is exactly where the director has shown originality and creativity. Hansen-Løve takes Bergman and his films (and his alter ego in the form of the beautiful, serene island of Fårö itself and also possibly her partner, another threatening male director that looms in the background or the foreground), and instead of merely referencing him for the sake of reference alone and sounding "smart", as a "formidable reference" as one character says, she plays with his myth, with his films. After all, the word "allusion" comes from the word "to play," and this is where the film really shines quite brilliantly. Ghosts become zombies in a horror film within the film, words become real, and the "power of fiction," as one character writes in their journal, dazzles. There's also an interesting discussion of human relationships, love, motherhood, what it means to love more than one person at the same time, especially when it comes from a woman. Women here as in Bergman's films are indeed the driving force both of the plot and of the actual film, dealing with the old issue of writer's block in a new perspective, truly. I think this is what originality really is now: you take an artwork or its creator which precedes you (and in film or any other medium, of course, you never operate solely on your own or in a vacuum, but are under an influence of tradition and an entire history that "haunts" you), and try to re-mold it, shape it into something new by using the same tools but in a different, singular way, using your own tone. Notice that the title of the film is "Bergman Island" and not "Bergman's Island". Bergman doesn't own the island nor can he monopolize it, as much as the industry born from his life there is very much alive. Every director, character, visitor, and film spectator shares the island and its impression via this film. I will say, though, that the ending did feel a bit rushed and maybe even underdeveloped, but it's still done masterfully, showing complete control of the medium of film.
- Nov 12, 2021