Bonus – Wild strawberries

While Wild strawberries can be a confusing film, I still enjoyed it because narrative style and cinematic codes used in the film greatly helped in making it a successful story about redemption. The flashback and dream scenes make the story confusing in understanding the story, and the main character unreliable. The first instance is the vision Isak had that introduced Sara and his brother Sigfrid together in the woods and sharing a kiss, and while all this is happening Isak is there watching. After gathering the berries, they family heads into the house for lunch, and then during lunch Sara gets upset from the teasing of the twins. While all this is happening, Isak is present and watching even though he was not truly present in that memory because it was stated that he and the father were out. Since he was not there, the events that happened in the vision are not reliable information but instead a subjective perspective, and so this makes Isak unreliable as a character. The second instance is the vision of his wife’s rape scene in the woods wherein the examiner states how Isak stood on that very spot behind the trees watching his wife get raped, and that he can never forget. However before this event, the scene was of Isak failing his doctor examination and being deemed incompetent as a result, and yet we know for a fact that Isak passed his test and became a great doctor. These events make the audience confused because there seems to be a blur between dream and memory.

The film made good use of lighting to emphasize one of the key themes of the story which is Isak’s loneliness and cold personality. From the first dream scene, the camera angle zooms out to show Isak on the street framed against a dark square while the rest of the building is white. This view shows how he is framed out or segregated from the rest of the white, and this gives a hint to the loneliness he has felt for most of his life. The second instance is during the lunch scene of the family, and we see again Isak watching from a distance in the dark doorway leading to the stairs while the dining area is bright. This time by showing a group of people having lunch and Isak separated, this also reinforces the idea of how Isak has lived his life as lonely outsider. The last instance is during the scene wherein he watches his wife get raped from a dark area behind a ladder while the area of Karin is bright as well. We see that even during his marriage they were not happy together because he was a cold husband as stated by Karin.

The film’s cinematography greatly helped in conveying the message of the important scenes. One instance is during the first dream scene wherein the camera angle zooms out to give a view of Isak walking the street because I think this is useful in showing how alone he is in the dream. It reflects what Isak has felt throughout his life which is loneliness and being an outsider. The scene is also quiet and foreboding, and this gives a feeling of a horror movie. The second instance is during the family lunch vision because of how the camera angles the scene wherein you see the family eating up close while Isak is seen far away watching. This helps in conveying to the audience the distance he must have felt from people even like family and friends. The last instance is during the scene of his wife being raped because it shows the perspective of Isak which is very far from the scene happening. This can show how even in his marriage he felt distant and unhappy with his wife, and the wife even states how their marriage wasn’t successful.

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