The Mirrors of Ingmar Bergman, Narrated with the Poetry of Sylvia Plath

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.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

Ingmar Bergman’s Soap Commercials Wash Away the Existential Despair

Ingmar Bergman Visits The Dick Cavett Show, 1971

Hear Sylvia Plath Read 15 Poems From Her Final Collection, Ariel

Lady Lazarus: Watch an Experimental Film Spoken by Sylvia Plath

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills and/or watch his films here.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s mission, please consider making a donation. We accept Paypal, Venmo, Patreon, even Crypto! To donate, click here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.