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.

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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.

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