‘Bergman Island’ offers a rare look into the life of a screenwriter


The films sometimes portray the difficulties of cinema and some even deign to quote the screenwriter. Among the few films in which the writers are in the foreground: “Sunset Boulevard”, “In a Lonely Place”, “Contempt”, “Barton Fink”, “The Player”, “Adaptation” and “Mank”.

In these and other films, the writer is almost always a man. And we rarely see results; we have to take his word that the script went right or wrong.

All of this makes Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island” even more remarkable. It centers around writer-director Chris (Vicky Krieps), who works on a script while spending the summer on the island of Faro, the longtime home of Ingmar Bergman.

Her husband, Tony (Tim Roth), a successful filmmaker, writes his own screenplay. “I wanted a double portrait of two directors, but it would gradually become more about her,” says Hansen-Love. Variety.

Eventually, “Bergman Island” shows scenes from Chris’s movie-in-a-movie, which also deals with a complex relationship (Mia Wasikowska, Anders Danielsen Lie) on Faro, so that both reality and fiction begin to s. ‘fade.

“It’s extremely difficult to portray writers, or any artist, on screen without being romantic, kitsch or idealistic,” says Hansen-Løve. “For the first 45 minutes you don’t see Chris writing; I wanted to capture this invisible process – not the moment of writing, but all the chaos within you that you are able to shape into, which will ultimately become a movie – your past, your present, your real life, and your imagination.

This is the seventh feature film by French director Hansen-Løve. The English-language film “Bergman’s Island,” distributed in the United States by IFC Films, contains references to films such as “The Seventh Seal” and “Cries and Whispers”, but familiarity with Bergman’s films is not required.

“I never wanted to exclude people who are not Bergman fans,” she says. “I hope the film is more universal. It’s about creation, what it’s like to be in a couple and trying to preserve your inner world.

Hansen-Løve is in tune with another giant of the cinema. In 1991, Federico Fellini said: “It is difficult to show the connection between a husband and a wife who got married because of romance and passion, but who have now been married for a long time. Friendship largely replaces what was there before, but not completely.

She hadn’t heard the quote but exclaimed, “He’s so right! Chris and Tony have been together for a long time, so the bond is deep and strong, but not the sexuality; when Chris writes, she realizes that something is missing. You might think the movie is about their breakup, but something holds them together. For me, the ending is ambiguous. You could say it’s the end of a couple, or the other way around.

Bergman first toured in Faro with “Through a Glass Darkly” (1957) and produced several works there, including “Hour of the Wolf” and “The Passion of Anna”. Bergman lived there from 1965 until his death in 2007. His films make the island dark and frightening.

Hansen-Løve gives it a green, pastoral and inviting aspect. “I was interested in the passion between Bergman and Faro, as well as the relationship between Bergman’s Faro and everyone else’s Faro. Faro still belongs to Bergman. At the same time, I could make it my own.

“The place seemed extremely welcoming, thanks to him. Even in the 1970s, he wanted his estate, after his death, to be a place for artists to come. You feel like a guest, not an intruder.

Hansen-Løve’s ‘Bergman Island’ is about a specific couple, but also about relationships, creativity, introspection – and love of films, and how each person is influenced by them. .