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Mia Hansen-Løve's "Bergman Island" nostalgic travelog at Cannes

By Moira Sullivan

Mia Hansen-Løve's "Bergman Island" in the official competition at Cannes is a rather superficial attempt to get closer to Ingmar Bergman, by walking in the same places where he made some of his films on Fårö , Sweden at his summer residence. How interesting is it to be sleeping in the same bedroom where Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson did their downward marriage spiral in "Scenes from a Marriage", or walking on the sea rocks and pools where Elizabeth (Liv Ullman) and nurse Sister Alma (Bibi Andersson) romped during a therapeutic week at Elizabeth's psychiatrist's (Margaretha Krook) summer house in "Persona"?

Filmmaker couple Tony (Tim Roth) and Chris (Vicky Krieps) are visiting "Bergman Week" on Fårö and writing screenplays as artists in residence. Getting there using a a mobile app after boarding the rustic ferry, meeting locals who never heard of Bergman and writing film scripts about a woman in bondage (Tony) and a woman painfully involved with a married man (Chris) is thin on inspiration and short of any compelling focus. The film's subject is about Bergman and not about Bergman. Multiple wives and children he didn't care about is one of the points pounded home, but the film is actually a travelogue for "Bergmanland" on Fårö and for those who don't live in Sweden it might seem enchanting to live in little huts and buy local sheepskins. For those who know about the filmmaker and his work, however, it is disappointing about what it could have been.

©Moira Jean Sullivan filmfestivals.com July 13, 2021

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