In Mia Hansen-Løve's latest, a filmmaking couple takes a trip to island of Fårö in Sweden, where Ingmar Bergman shot many of his films and where he resided in later life
Where does a married filmmaking couple travel for a romantic getaway that doubles as a work retreat? Fårö Island, of course. The quaint Swedish coastal community has only a few hundred inhabitants, but sees tens of thousands of visitors arrive to its shore each year due to its deep connections with Ingmar Bergman, who lived and died on the island and shot some of his most famous films among the ancient rock formations by the sea.
It is in the very bedroom from Scenes From a Marriage (1973) that Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) sleep during their visit, charmingly joking about the impact the miniseries had on Sweden’s divorce rate at the time. Out of the two, Tony enjoys the bigger success as a director, hosting Q&As on Bergman as young film students sing his praises. It is Chris’s work, however, that director Mia Hansen-Løve chooses to explore in depth, going full meta as she creates a film within the film.
It is compelling to observe the restless nature of Chris through the eyes of Hansen-Løve, who ponders on philosophical dilemmas bereft of any sense of urgency, granting the characters room to rummage through feelings without the need of resolution. Alas, the very same lethargy that allows for existential contemplation feeds a sense of aimlessness that prevents full engagement. The result is a film that, despite its beauty, comes and goes with the fleeting brevity of the waves that hit the coast of Fårö.
Bergman Island screens at Glasgow Film Festival on 4 Mar, and is released in UK cinemas on 3 Jun via MUBI