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There is a graceful ease to Mia Hansen-Løve’s cinematic prose, one that can feel misleadingly simple at times. But once you allow her placid beats wash over you, the intricacy of her ideas rises to the surface with little effort, revealing the deep thinker and feeler Hansen-Løve always has been.
“Bergman Island” is the writer/director’s latest excursion full of surprising rewards. It finds Hansen-Løve in a characteristically reflective place, through the story of two filmmakers—one prominent, one less experienced but perceptibly promising—spending a lavish amount of time on the Fårö Island of the Baltic Sea, where Ingmar Bergman once lived, loved and made movies. Even though the good-humored proprietor giving the guest couple a walkthrough of their vacation home is quick to remind them that they are where Bergman once conceived “Scenes from a Marriage” and caused the divorce of millions of people, the place is certainly a retreat for Tony (Tim Roth) and Chris (Vicky Krieps), the latter being the less famous filmmaker of the two. After all, they are there to work, to soak in all the inspiration they can get and perhaps tour the island on an official “Bergman Safari.” (No, that’s not a joke. It’s a real thing that happens on this island.)
The finish line in “Bergman Island” is of the opaque kind. But anything else would have done Hansen-Løve’s wistful sleepwalk through memory, time and cinema injustice. Her film is less a direct, clear-cut homage to Bergman, and more a searching exploration of reality and art in the way they mirror, propel and feed on one another, washing ashore remembrances both dreamy and lifelike.— Tomris Laffly, rogerebert.com
Fri December 2, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
Belgium, France, Germany, Mexico, Sweden; 2021; in German, English, Swedish; 113 min, digital • official site
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve, Writer: Mia Hansen-Løve, Cast: Vicky Krieps, Tim Roth, Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie, Hampus Nordenson