Kagonada, the video-essayist behind the cinematic supercuts of Kubrick’s “One-Point Perspective” and Ozu’s “Passageways” returns with a look at mirrors in the films of Ingmar Bergman, set to a plaintive Vivaldi work for two mandolins, and a reading of Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror.”
Mirrors and reflections turn up right in the beginning of Bergman’s films as a motif, when Jenny, the middle-aged protagonist of Crisis exclaims to her image, “You can't see from the outside, but beneath this face ... oh, my God!” Mirrors show their viewers a true face behind the mask in his films, mortality, failure, duplicity--everything fake stripped away. It’s a time to take stock and a time to break down.
It’s quite lovely, this cut, with Plath’s description of her wall “pink, with speckles” matching the color shot from Fanny & Alexander; or “Faces and darkness separate us over and over” as Nine-Christine Jönsson draws a frowny face and writes “lonely” on her reflection from Port of Call. The video is also a tribute to Bergman’s favorite actresses, from Harriet Andersson to Liv Ullmann.
Incidentally, Sylvia Plath was not just a fan of the filmmaker, she based her poem “Three Women” on Bergman’s film So Close to Life (aka Brink of Life) which she had seen in a London cinema in either 1961 or 1962.
Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.