Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
With the exception of his elderly housekeeper Miss Agda who he treats almost like a surrogate platonic wife, widowed seventy-eight year old Dr. Isak Borg, a former medical doctor and professor, has retreated from any human contact, partly his own want but partly the decision of others who do not want to spend time with him because of his cold demeanor. He is traveling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree. Instead of flying as was the original plan, he decides to take the day long drive instead. Along for the ride is his daughter-in-law Marianne, who had been staying with him for the month but has now decided to go home. The many stops and encounters along the way make him reminisce about various parts of his life. Those stops which make him reminisce directly are at his childhood summer home, at the home of his equally emotionally cold mother, and at a gas station where the attendants praise him as a man for his work. But the lives of other people they ...Written by
Ingmar Bergman has described in the interview how he came up with the idea while driving from Stockholm to Dalarna, stopping in Uppsala where he had been born and raised, and driving by outside his grandmother's old house, when he suddenly began to think about how it would be if he could open the door and inside it would be just as it had been during his childhood. "So it struck me - what if you could make a film about this; that you just walk up in a realistic way and open a door, and then you walk into your childhood, and then you open another door and come back to reality, and then you make a turn around a street corner and arrive in some other period of your existence, and everything goes on, lives. That was actually the idea behind Wild Strawberries (1957)" See more »
When Isak looks up at the faceless clock, he retreats into its shadow. Next cut and there is no shadow. See more »
[under his breath, while preparing for his journey]
Honorary Doctor! They might as well appoint me Honorary Idiot.
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Bergman has been seen by many as being a depressing film makes, who speaks above the heads of most people. Thank God someone does! In this piece of genius, we are asked to consider who God is; what makes a life worthwhile; and whether human nature alters through the generations, or is it just the costumes that change? As usual, the answers are to be provided by the audience. We must chose for ourselves what we think is 'right' or 'just'. Bergman uses the usual pattern for him - a man is on a journey (life) and meets people who are going along the same road (friends and family), and they all head toward the end of their trip (death). They stop in for obligatory visits with relatives and for food (as we all do), receive an honourary degree (fame & success?), and then send the children off to a party held in our honour that we do not attend (funeral). What happens along the way is important, but we always end up in the same place - the end. Wonderful editing techniques, good story, good images, fantastic acting, and more ideas and questions to ponder than one film can hold - or so you thought. It's only after the film ends that these ponderings come to you. During the film, you simply watch a man travel from his home to another city, but this is far from what the film is about. See this film once, think about the questions it poses, then rewind and see it again. You will be rewarded for doing so.
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