Wild Strawberries, a classic road movie written and directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1957 tells a tale which pictures the scenes of a protagonist, whose life falls between the past and the present, discovering the world of vision and realism. The film was casted with Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand and others. Victor Sjöström plays the character of Professor Isak Borg, the old-aged protagonist, who is on a journey, where he revives his childhood days through some symbolic dreams and scenes. And all these scenes happened through narrative technique used by the script-writer, director Bergman. It is a narration of the protagonist Isak about his horrifying dreams and early days.
The movie Wild Strawberries uses the technique of three narrative discussions, one, the tense, two, the mood and three, the voice. The tense shares the linking of the story with the discourse. The mood expresses the point of vision which is the narrator’s perception of the story. And the voice communicates the narration with the flow of the story. There is a fourth narrative discourse explained by Tom Gunning whose job is to provide an effort on the difficulties in the area of movie style, film interpretation and history of film and film culture. He pointed the fourth narrative technique as narrativization which explicates three elements of narrativization. They are, pro-filmic which describes about anything that is positioned before the camera which is to be captured. Enframed image which illustrates the transformation of act from camera to celluloid and the last, editing which is to be done after all the shots are finished. This Swedish movie was prepared based on these narrative techniques that describe the scenes with ease and without much difficulty. However, according to Griffith, the films are viewed in that way in which they are narrated as “audience is an active spectator who contributes to the construction of the narrative.”
Physician Isak Borg, a Seventy-eight year old man who would be honored with an honorary degree from the University of Lund is determined to take a road trip from Stockholm to Lund instead of taking a flight. On the way he encountered some fantasies and a few sweet and sour recollections from the days when he was a young man. Honoring with the award, too, provides him with a nightmare using the technique of Freudian theory. He was accompanied by his daughter-in-law, Marianne, who is pregnant and estranged from her husband because junior Borg does not desire to have any children, although Isak does not know of this yet.
Isak Borg also meets some other characters on the way – Sara, Viktor and Anders who bestow him the reminiscences, some sweet and some bitter, of his early days. They took him back to the past when the woman he loved tied the knot with his younger brother instead of him. He also meets a couple whose continuous conflicts drive him to remember of the condition of his own marital life.
Towards the end, when he ultimately receives his honorary degree, he is convinced of the fact that this prestigious reward is not much more than an urn of unfulfilled desires. That night Dr. Borg has no dreams but a surprisingly undisturbed sleep. And all these events are disclosed to us through a simple narrative technique.
Director Ingmar Bergman furnished a vibrant story-telling approach – last years of a man’s life, aging and repentant, which would take an absorbed, apathetic and purposeful tempo. It is speculated how Bergman instills his anecdote with an adequate amount of effervescence to uphold interest. Although a lot of the scenes have an over-the-top-artsy feel to them, Bergman does not like his films to an overly slow pace. Therefore, his technique is simple and effortless, like fluid.
The story tells us of maturity and catharsis to the road. It is not always possible to capture audiences’ awareness with this subject. But Bergman was clever enough to accomplish that and that he had been able to incarcerate audiences’ interest from the very first “abnormal” scene – Isak’s nightmare in which he loses his way during a walk and discovers himself in an empty street. The most notable aspect of this scene is its eerie sound, or lack thereof. There is no background noise, whatsoever. The streets are eerily quiet. The sound effects that are heard, as we move forward, are abnormally loud and sharp, making them feel scary, when they normally would be overlooked. Bergman succeeds in creating eeriness in the mind of the viewer, with the starkness of the audio. The imagery (of the faceless man) completes the effect. Isak sees the clock without hands. He then proceeds to take a watch out of his pocket, which to his dismay also has no hands. This simple imagery ushers in the unreal nature of the scene. It is a place with no concept of time. It also helps the viewer to empathize with Isak’s confusion, and growing feeling of insecurity in this scene. Isak doesn’t know where he is, or what time it is, and the viewer is similarly kept in the dark. The eeriness on all the scenes that comprise Isak’s dreams, are in blatant contrast with the film’s “normal” scenes, which are actually less notable, and form a framework for the surreal ones. The “normal” scenes also lack any form of background noise or music, but there is no such eerie silence, as these scenes are filled plentiful with dialogues, not to mention, the audio is at a much normal volume. Arguably Bergman’s greatest strength in this film is his ability to quickly and elegantly convey the varying moods of the different scenes.
As said earlier, some narrative theorists proposed voice which actually states whose words we listen to and the point of view to be the distinct features. The film Wild Strawberries generates this effect through these techniques of narration which is precisely achieved in a more complex manner.
Towards the end of the story, there is another dream or rather, a nightmare. Dr. Borg dreams that he has attended a class where an instructor takes his examination. His reverie seems to be horrifying since he was unable to give the correct answers. The instructor concludes that he is unskilled and has failed the examination. The events went through a series of dialogues which is proficiently used in the perspective of narrative techniques.
Wild Strawberries arises out for its creation of narrative technique in a direction flowing through a number of flashbacks, imaginations and reveries. It has a piercing emotional exploration of the concluding life sequence and ascertains Bergman's nervousness with the associations with people involving desire, loss, guilt, sympathy, and merriment.
The vivid imagery in certain of the “abnormal” scenes or dream sequences in the movie, along with the direct narrative of Dr. Borg to the audience, makes the latter feel that they are actually in the movie, and not just passively viewing it on the screen. Bergman forces his viewers to relate to Borg’s journey to catharsis, as almost all audiences must have felt the emotions that Borg feels on this eventful journey – reminiscing about the past, happiness, sorrow, regret, yearning for reconciliation, and so on.
“The Cinema of Attraction in Relation to Early Film”. The Authentic Society. Web < http://www.authenticsociety.com/about/CinemaOfAttractions_TomGunning >