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Bergman Island
The Criterion Collection

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 83 minutes

Directed by: Marie Nyrerod

 

 

Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Bergman 101 

Specs: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Swedish Stereo, English Subtitles, Chapter Selection (11 Chapters)

Released: June 16th, 2009

 

 


"Bergman Island" is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen. Transfered from what seems to be the original video source, the movie looks downright sharp. Fleshtones are accurate, while color saturation is bold and vibrant without going overboard. Detail is also excellent — there's lots to take in from the exteriors on Fåro, and even in Bergman's home. The only real flaws are edge halos and some noise. It's not great, but not too much of a distraction either.

 


"Bergman Island" features a Dolby Stereo track, in the film's language of Swedish. There's not too much to say about this track, other than all the sound elements blend fine. Dialogue sounds clear and crisp, while some haunting piano melodies and sound effects from the island of Fåro add a little ambiance. I did not hear any kinds of distortions or defects on the track, either. Simple, and fitting for the documentary. 

English subtitles are included.

 


The sole supplement is Bergman 101. This is a roughly 35 minute biography, written and narrated by film scholar Peter Cowie. It is very well done, as Cowie — mainly using photographic stills and some Bergman film clips — delves into the filmmaker's childhood, films and career as a whole. Thematics and symbolisms that define Bergman films are also touched upon. The whole piece is entertaining, incredibly informative and breezy — there is a lot to gain in such a short amount of time. While I think this biography is best for those less familiar with the director's work, Bergman aficionados are sure to enjoy it as well (a refresher never hurts). A must watch. 

Also included is a sweetly stated essay by the film's director Marie Nyrerod. 

 


"Bergman Island" is a must see documentary for film scholars and Bergman fanatics alike. The film is quite revealing, and though was shot several years before the filmmaker's death, it makes for an insightful conclusion to a remarkable life and career. Given that this is a simply shot documentary, the film looks and sounds fine — while the Bergman 101 video filmography is a real treat. Certainly worth a rental, if not an outright buy for Bergman fans.