Miabrings her ode to love and artistry with Bergman Island (12 years after Father of My Children won the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes). The story takes place on the eponymous island in Fårö, Sweden, where acclaimed film director Ingmar Bergman filmed many of his pictures and lived in his later years until his death. Couple Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) travel to do work on their respective scripts. She writes with ease and is celebrated and lauded by those on the island; for Tony, it’s a self-inflicted pain that seems to reach only smaller audiences. As they both write and try to search for inspiration from Bergman, two stories blend together to flip reality on its head.
The audience is pulled into the world of Chris’s script as Amy (Mia Wasikowska), an American filmmaker, travels to Fårö for a wedding her former love Joseph is also attending (Anders Danielsen Lie). It’s a shame as just when one starts to be really drawn into the couple’s artistry, relationship and tensions that fill the disparity of their recognition, the entire story changes. Amy attends the wedding only to plan to wear a white dress and yearns for Joseph. It must be said, though, that the French director aptly captures the heartbreaking awkwardness of being so in love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate. The constant looking back to see where he is, checking her phone every minute and then finally bursting into tears on a friend’s shoulder: Amy’s heartbreak can be empathised with by anyone.
Erring on the side of pretentious with an odd narrative structure,‘s direction breaks all confines of storytelling. The chemistry between Roth and Krieps is so naturalistic, capturing their characters’ own secret language, rich with annoyances, misunderstandings and private jokes. But Bergman Island ultimately falls short of spectacular as it doesn’t let the audience fully immerse themselves in any of the characters’ stories. Nonetheless, it’s a sweet and relatable picture about the hardship of being a filmmaker and in love.
Bergman Island does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Bergman Island here: