A professor in the Department of Scandinavian at UC Berkeley, Linda H. Rugg has written extensively on Ingmar Bergman.
Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand,
Wild Strawberries unites two strands in Bergman’s work: here, his examination of male vanity finds its apex, and the protagonist is introduced to a rather severe comeuppance in the face of death. Bergman does it with mirrors, and with dreams, which are the mind’s mirror. Interestingly, the film’s Dalí/Kafkaesque dream sequences have proved less memorable than the scenes in which natural settings are brilliantly transformed into dreamscapes by virtue of their flashback context. Honoring his debt to the early Swedish cinema and the oneiric quality of its nature cinematography, Bergman cast the great silent film director and actor Victor Sjöström as the aging pedant Isak Borg, who dreams his own death, revisits his youth as a spectator, and learns amid the forgiving wild strawberries (symbolic in Sweden of a favorite spot or sanctuary) that he had always denied desire.