Ingmar Bergman and the Taste of Memories

Isn’t it so interesting that Bergman chose to title his film about memories, aging, lost opportunities, and the irrevocability of childhood after the taste of berries in the early summer? The title, Wild Strawberries, or Smultronstället, is evocative of the smell and feel of a precise time and place–May and June in the Swedish countryside–an endless summer where youth begins to fade into the wariness of adulthood. The main character, Dr. Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström) takes a journey into the past, into the recesses of his memories, as he travels to Lund to receive an honorary degree. He realizes that his vision of the past comprises of a series of certain isolated painful and poignant episodes, but also of intensely tactile sensations–tastes, touch, desires, and unrequited passions–all the things that remind us of being alive.

I few days ago I saw a Jamie Oliver show of him traveling to Sweden, to the woods, to gather wild berries and mushrooms, and I immediately thought of the beauty of Bergman’s film.

The lushness and otherworldly feel of the woods takes you to certain place in the depths of your imagination. And the treasures hidden among the bushes and trees–berries, mushrooms–are apart of that almost fairy tale magic of youth and its equivocal moments of innocence.

 

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