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TIFF 2021: ‘Bergman Island’ is a Stunner Worthy of its Namesake

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22.09.2021

Mia Hansen-Løve delivers an astonishing and personal film about the process of creating an astonishing and personal film.

IFC Films

By Anna Swanson · Published on September 22nd, 2021

This review of Bergman Island is part of our ongoing press coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival. From reviews to interviews to recap lists, follow along for all things TIFF 2021.

Bergman Island begins, quite fittingly, with Chris (Vicky Krieps), a director in search of inspiration, arriving on the island where Ingmar Bergman lived and worked. As she settles into her home for the summer, her husband Tony (Tim Roth) offers some advice: “No one’s expecting Persona.” The Swedish master’s crown jewel would be a lofty and ambitious goal for any filmmaker, but especially in the context of this being a Mia Hansen-Løve film, the remark has an astutely self-reflexive quality. Indeed, Persona, or anything like it, is not what one might expect from the French filmmaker. But in this homage to its director, Hansen-Løve has crafted a startling, unique, and clever triumph.

Landing on the island of Fårö, Chris and Tony are very clearly splitting their time between business and pleasure. The picturesque location is captured in all its vibrant glory by cinematographer Denis Lenoir, with cerulean waves and lush green fields setting the scene as a pastoral respite from the rest of the world. But there’s also work to be done here. Tony is also a filmmaker, and his latest horror film is part of a screening series there. As it turns out, the island has become a tourist destination for cinephiles, and the couple are far from the only people there trying to soak up whatever it is in the........

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