Classic Bergman Blu-ray
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Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Produced in 1946-58
Main Language - Swedish with English subtitles
Five films from Ingmar Bergman: It Rains on Our Love (1946), A Ship Bound for India (1947), Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), Dreams (1955) and So Close to Life (1958). Anthony Nield takes a look.
Classic Bergman brings together five of the Swedish director’s little-seen works. Three have never previously been released onto disc in the UK, whilst two were only available as part of the mammoth (and prohibitively-priced) 30-film set issued some years back. A tying up of loose ends perhaps, but this release offers more than just satisfaction to the Bergman collector. Whilst it may not represent his best known works, it nevertheless demonstrates that ‘minor Bergman’ need not be a derogatory term.
The earliest inclusions, both new to DVD, were the director’s second and third features. It Rains On Our Love (1946) concerns a pair of social misfits - a pregnant teenage runaway and a young man fresh out of prison - whose burgeoning romance must cope with adverse economic realities and their own pasts catching up with them. The spectre of the past is present in the visually striking A Ship Bound for India (1947) too. Here a sailor returns to his hometown after seven years away, sparking memories of his abusive father, put-upon mother and the mistress he too had feelings for.
The three other titles all hail from the fifties, by which point Bergman was well on his way to international recognition. Sawdust and Tinsel (1953) is the bleakest of the bunch, to the point where its box-office failure prompted his production company to ask for a comedy next. Instead he provided them with Dreams (1955), a tale of weak men, determined women and the failure of relationships. The style in this one is particularly striking, acting as an extension of its lead characters’ fragile psychological states.
So Close to Life (1958), also new to disc, earned Bergman and his female cast members (Ingrid Thulin, Eva Dahlbeck, Bibi Andersson & Barbro Hiort af Ornäs) prizes at that year’s Cannes Film Festival and it’s easy to why. Confined to a claustrophobic environs of a maternity ward it relates the stories of three very different pregnant women, and consequently offering up meaty roles for much of the director’s regular acting troupe. They don’t waste the opportunity.
Classic Bergman is being issued in both DVD and Blu-ray formats, the latter a welcome sign that labels are continuing to be adventurous with their high definition releases.
Anthony Nield on 25th April 2012
Author of 9 reviews
A collection of five films from Ingmar Bergman: It Rains on Our Love (1946), A Ship Bound for India (1947), Sawdust and Tinsel (1953), Dreams (1955) and So Close to Life (1958).
In 'It Rains On Our Love', a chance meeting between Maggi and David (Birger Malmsten) leads to them breaking into a summer cottage to spend the night together. Smitten, the couple set out to rent the cottage from the owner, unaware of his underhand intentions.
'A Ship Bound for India' follows sailor Johannes Blom (Malmsten), who returns home from seven years at sea to find his love, Sally, in a state of utter despair, which appears to stretch back to a series of incidents involving Blom's captain.
'Sawdust and Tinsel' follows a group of down-on-their-luck circus performers as they face love, jealousy, humiliation and loss on their travels around the countryside.
'Dreams' follows fashion photographer Susanne Frank (Eva Dahlbeck) as she heads to Gothenburg to photograph young model Doris (Harriet Andersson) and, she hopes, to reignite a love affair with Henrik. But Doris also has romantic problems and the days of the two women don't go as planned.
'So Close to Life' follows a trio of women at various stages of pregnancy who share a ward. While Cecilia (Ingrid Thulin) suffers a miscarriage and Stina (Dahlbeck) looks forward to having a child, Hjordis (Bibi Andersson) is terrified at the prospect of giving birth.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 457 mins
Cat No: ART036BD
Format: Blu-ray B&W
- 5 discs
- The Women and Bergman Documentary
- The Men and Bergman Documentary.
by Barry Forshaw on 27th June 2012
It was something of an irony that two of the titans of European art cinema, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, both died on the same day. Bergman predeceased h... Read on
It was something of an irony that two of the titans of European art cinema, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, both died on the same day. Bergman predeceased his Italian colleague by several hours, and for those few hours, Antonioni was the greatest director in the world. The latter's reputation has been in flux of late, with his later films enduring a not-always-generous re-evaluation (although early classics such as La Notte remain untouchable). Ingmar Bergman's oeuvre, however, remains utterly unassailable, with an unbroken flow of achievement throughout a very long career - as is evidenced by this very welcome reissue of some of his early films, beautifully remastered in sparkling Blu-Ray transfers. Perhaps such films as It Rains on Our Love are of more interest to the Bergman aficionado, but there are some of the director's most considerable achievements here, notably than searing mid-period classic Sawdust and Tinsel as well as the affecting drama set in a maternity ward, So Close To Life. Apart from Bergman's nonpareil direction, anyone interested in the art of great film acting will find a slew of astonishing performances here (from such Bergman muses as Ingrid Thulin) and it is to be hoped that Artificial Eye continues its program of Bergman reissues on Blu-ray with such later classics as Persona, The Silence and Fanny and Alexander. Hide
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