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The Bergman connection makes Fårö one of many sacred websites of cinema, like Cinecittà, Monument Valley, or the nook of Hollywood and Vine. That sacred-site facet may be very a lot part of writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s drama. It’s not a very powerful a part of “Bergman Island” — that will be the connection between Tony and Chris (Tim Roth, Vicky Krieps), a filmmaker couple who’ve come to the island as a part of a fellowship residency — but it surely’s probably the most entertaining. Is there such a factor as an annual Bergman Safari bus tour across the island? There may be right here.
The way in which Hansen-Løve (”Issues to Come”) weaves in Bergman, life and works each, makes her movie a form of shadow biopic. “Bergman Island” additionally capabilities as travelogue. Fårö wouldn’t be very inviting in January, Tony sourly notes, however that is August; and as seen right here it’s a little bit of Baltic paradise. Every thing’s so clear and sunny, suffused with island gentle, it may very well be Martha’s Winery with out the riff-raff.
Agreeable as it’s to study extra about Bergman and take within the surroundings, that’s incidental to Hansen-Løve’s issues. “Bergman Island” is a low-key, small-scale scenes from a wedding. Or scenes from a relationship: Tony and Chris aren’t married, although they do have a younger daughter. She’s staying along with her maternal grandmother, which helps hold issues emotionally uncluttered.
Among the many virtues of “Bergman Island” is how uncluttered it’s usually, in addition to its constant quietude and Hansen-Løve’s keenness of remark. How eager? It goes unmentioned that Chris is taller than Tony and notably youthful. But you may really feel how they matter.
“Bumpy” is the primary phrase heard within the film. A passenger jet is flying by way of the clouds, and an anxious Chris has her head in Tony’s lap. She does not like flying. Stalled on a screenplay, Chris is experiencing bumpiness on the bottom as nicely.
She and Tony are staying on the property the place Bergman had his studio. “Don’t you think it’s too nice, too,” and she or he pauses.
He interrupts her: “Too what?”
“Beautiful. All this calm and perfection, I find it depressing.” She provides, “Writing here, how can you not feel like a loser?” It’s an odd factor for somebody to say, however not for Chris. Krieps (”Phantom Thread,” “Old”) offers her an odd, slump-shouldered stroll. Is it an acceptance of defeat or anticipation of it?
Roth, who might be such a kinetic actor, retains Tony reined in. That’s correctly, as “Bergman Island” more and more turns into Chris’s film. It’s hers twice over. She emerges because the extra distinguished and attention-grabbing character and — in Hansen-Løve’s one little bit of bravura — we get to see enacted as a movie-within-a-movie the screenplay Chris is engaged on.
“Bergman Island” then turns into, no less than for some time, another person’s film, belonging to Amy (Mia Wasikowska) and Joseph (Anders Danielsen Lie). Their relationship — as visitors at a marriage, no much less, held on, sure, Fårö — turns into a gloss on Chris and Tony’s relationship.
That is an imaginative twist, no query, and Hansen-Løve has some understated enjoyable with filmic intertextuality: Chris and Amy put on the identical fashion of shoe; some actors play components in each “movies”; stuff like that. However it does appear extra elaboration, and even distraction, than anything. Going to Fårö is an interesting proposition. Doing so twice, and on the identical go to, moderately diminishes that enchantment.
Written and directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. Starring Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie. At Coolidge Nook. 113 minutes. R (sexual content material, nudity, language). In English and Swedish, with subtitles.
Mark Feeney might be reached at [email protected]
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