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Bergman at his peak
In Wild Strawberries (original title: Smultronstället) we follow professor Isak Borg played by the mesmerizing Victor Sjöström. One of the masters of world cinema with a career spanning from 1912 to 1957 as actor and director, here he gives the role of a lifetime. He told Bergman that he was too tired to take the role, then he changed his mind on one stipulation, that the shooting for the day would be over before his daily late afternoon drink. Bergman quickly agreed, and the shooting of the film turned into one of the director's most fond memories.
Sjöström's professor undertakes a journey both by car and spiritually. Stopping by the place where he picked wild strawberries as a youth, his memories come flooding back. For the rest of the movie the story interweaves between the present and the memories of the moments that have most shaped his life. On his journey from Stockholm to Lund, he also meets several characters that perfectly fit in with his memories and his questions to himself.
At the end of the journey Isak comes to a conclusion, a change must come. Is it too late?
Everyone should watch this movie.
Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007)
Astounding true story
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (original French title: Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) is not only the story of what happened to Jean-Dominique Bauby after he suffered a stroke, it is a story of the human will, and the fighting spirit of Mr. Bauby in particular. There's no doubt about it, the real life story is a 10 out of 10. How about the movie?
Unfortunately the movie doesn't quite live up to its potential, or do full justice to this amazing story. That's not to say it isn't well acted. Mathieu Amalric can not be faulted, he is flawless in his portrayal of Jean-Dominique Bauby. However, the movie does not quite deliver on the emotional level, or in setting up the story fully. We spend a lot of time seeing Bauby communicating with beautiful women by blinking his left eye. It becomes more about the writing of the book than it does about his life and his incredible accomplishment. Even the conclusion fades away.
It's still a movie I would recommend, most of all because of the overall qualities intrinsic in the real life story. Done right, it could have been a multiple Academy-award winning movie.