Essay Analysis Of Ingmar 's ' Wild Strawberries '

Essay Analysis Of Ingmar 's ' Wild Strawberries '

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Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, while released in 1957, embodies a refreshingly progressive perspective in its portrayal of women. Undoubtedly, Wild Strawberries is Isak Borg’s journey, both literal and spiritual, of realization, recollection, and redemption. However, its female characters, namely Marianne and the Sarahs of both generations, play an integral part in Isak’s transformation. Other movies we viewed from this era, specifically Au Hasard Balthazar and La Strada, tended towards victimization of female characters, from sexual assault to unhealthy dependencies. However, Wild Strawberries shies away simultaneously from those trope and the feminist stereotype of bra-burning, man-hating liberationism. Marianne, in particular, functions as a complex, multidimensional woman in Isak’s eyes as well as in her own right.
The relationship between Marianne and Isak is one of the most highlighted in the film; at the beginning of their proposed car ride from Stockholm to Lund, Marianne expresses intense dislike of her father-in-law. To her credit, Isak does not seem an especially likable character; he comes across as a crotchety, harsh, and miserly old man. The particular source of tension between Marianne and Isak is a loan from Isak to his son, Evald. To this viewer, this speaks to the dysfunctionality of the family unit that a father insists his son repaying him a loan in a timely and adequate fashion. Marianne, also beholden to Isak as a result of the loan, resents her father-in-law for being so thoroughly parsimonious not to loosen the terms for his own son. However, Marianne’s original contempt for Isak seems to run deeper than that: we learn, first through Marianne and Isak and later by meeting him, that Evald is a misera...


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...; at the beginning of the film, Marianne is relying on Isak to be her transportation to Lund and is quite literally a secondary character, a passenger, in their conveyance there. Abruptly, Marianne begins to be the driver, as Isak gets lost in his memories; it is she who tosses the bickering couple out of the car. She has decided her path: to keep the child, regardless of the repercussions the decision has on her marriage. In the end, Evald reluctantly accepts the child in an effort to stay with Marianne. This does not necessarily qualify as a happy ending for the couple; their continued union, in fact, seems quite tentative. However, Marianne’s relationship with Isak has improved tremendously; as he comes to terms with the mistakes of his past, she is able to recognize his genuine contrition and forgive him for how he has treated his son, and by extension, her.


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