Wild Strawberries / Smultronstället

  • Director: Ingmar Bergman
  • Released: 1957
  • Writer: Ingmar Bergman
  • Featured Actors: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin


similar to Seventh Seal in that the film appears to record events as they occur, but in fact is a retelling of what happened to Isak Borg – and his growing awareness that he has been someone else most of his life. Dreams & Visions and other people’s stories compose the fabric of the story…allowing a perspective similar to Seventh Seal. By the end, Borg is able to see who and where he is…for Bergman, this is the closest to wisdom we can achieve.

Prologue: Isak’s Study

  1. Nightmare, starts events
  2. Road in Car
  3. Summer House (1st dream)
  4. Road (quarrel)
  5. Service Station
  6. Lunch
  7. Mother Borg
  8. Road (quarrel)
  9. Summer House (2nd dream)
  10. Road in Car
  11. Lund

Themes & Motifs

Nightmares (and clocks):

  • Self confrontation
  • Note for the differences in first & second nightmere
  • Death in life
  • Note for dead trees
  • Clocks w/o hands (who will inherent the watch?)

Parents & Children

  • Note the relationship between Mother Borg & Marianne
  • Note the discussion about the doll belonging to Sigbritt
  • Where does the holy family arise in this film?
  • Bergman meditating on the Biblical Isaac & Sarah
  • Sarah is split in two (both played by BiBi Anderson)
  • Where’s the hope in this film?

Spatial Relationships

  • Note the postures of Marianne & Isak in the car and how they change as the film progresses
  • Note the turning away and turning toward
  • We are alone together with only each other as a resource

Wild Strawberries & Seventh Seal

  • A re-telling of events that have happened
  • Day of Judgment
    • focused on the growing realization that he’s been someone else most of his life
  • Deadline – must outwit death
  • By the end, Borg is able to see who and and where he is and achieves the capacity to be both actor and audience at the same time
    • For Bergman, this is the closest to wisdom we can achieve


  • For Borg, everything seems settled & life is near completion
  • All he must to is travel to the University to receive accolades – proclaimed with trumpet and cannon (like a judgment day)
    • Is the verdict of respect deserved? Is the honor true?
  • The self-confrontation


  • as the dreams progress he can finally speak
    • “It’s as if I’m trying to say something to myself which I don’t want to hear when I’m awake”
    • “I’d dead, although I live”

Dead Trees

  • Associated with Isak & Evald
    • a figure of their own shriveled and emotionless lives
  • image of stunted tree
    • representation and warning of what they will be if they continue as they are

Clocks & Eyes & Faces

  • “when time shall be no more”
  • Bleeding eyes (the sign beneath the clock) suggests that his ability to see is defective
  • Borg’s mother intends to give his father’s watch to his nephew
    • perhaps, this ‘dead-man’s’ watch will not be Borg’s inheritance
  • The squished face (nightmare #1) resembles Borg’s own face as he frowns

Symbols & Audience

  • For the viewer: these images make Borg’s inner feelings externally visible
    • They gain their full sense by association and accumulation
  • While meanings can be articulated, their most basic way of functioning is effectively (emotionally)
  • The viewer sees them – the images come to inhabit our consciousness with their suggestions and reverberations