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Intimations of mortality

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CLOSING TIME Wild Strawberries follows Isak Borg's introspection on the meaning of life
CLOSING TIME Wild Strawberries follows Isak Borg's introspection on the meaning of life

The three films of Ingmar Bergman that Collective Chaos screened as part of the Masters of Cinema series dealt with familiar themes of love and loss

Though Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers, was made almost 35 years ago, it does not feel even a bit dated. There is the terminally ill Agnes who struggles for every breath and also struggles to reconcile her two sisters - the repressed Karin and the sensual but indecisive Maria (played by the luminescent Liv Ullman). The time frame does not matter in this tale of love and death. Going by the clothes the ladies wear, it looks like it is the turn of the century but the isolated country house could be anywhere and any time. There are no visitors except the family physician who seems to have had an affair at some point of time with Maria. The only person who cares for Agnes is the maid, Anna. Even death does not bring any understanding. It only underlines the futility of Agnes' efforts at reconciliation. What she could not communicate while alive is lost on the living after her death. The film uses the colour red to striking effect. Using red for dissolves makes it the colour of life, of forced intimacy and of course of blood, for the body. The colour scheme contrasts the pale, muted landscape with the rich warmth indoors where vivid splashes of red appear as the carpet, the curtains and even the women's gowns. The other two films screened by Collective Chaos as part of its Masters of Cinema series were The Silence (1963) and Wild Strawberries. (1957)The Silence, Bergman's final instalment of the chamber series again deals with longing and loneliness in contemporary society. There is Esther, a translator, who is travelling with her sister, Anna, and Anna's son, Johan through a country on the brink of war. Esther gets a bronchial attack and breaks journey and checks into a hotel, with Anna and Johan in the opposite room. Familiar themes of suffocation, air hunger and a break down in communication pepper this hauntingly beautiful film.Wild Strawberries follows an allegorical journey for the protagonist Professor Isak Borg who makes peace with his past and comes to terms with the inevitability of death on an impulsive road trip he takes. MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER


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