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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