Bergman Island

No man is an island, it is said, but some willingly sequester themselves on one to maintain solitude and inspiration. Faro, a remote spot off the Swedish mainland whose austere terrain harbors a dwindling three-digit population, is no Maui. But for director Ingmar Bergman, this isolated jut of land was apparently a little piece of Paradise. Bergman Island a documentary shot in 2003 for Swedish television, is a telling example of how the cult of personality can exert its own fascination, for it?s the influential filmmaker, rather than his films, that provides the focal point. With documentarian Marie Nyrerod at his side, Bergman shows us around his home, then ventures out (as it were) to locales that have personal significance to him. Yet the physical landmarks are less important than the memories and reveries that Nyrerod elicits in gently probing talks with the candid Bergman. Here Bergman reveals his conflicted feelings about his parents; his regrets about a domestic and love life that found room for five marriages and nine children; his fears -- literally outlined in a short list he?s provided -- and his abiding love for his last wife, Ingrid, who died in 1995. We learn much about the inner life of the man, but his enduring accomplishments in film and theater take second stage. A viewer has to approach this absorbing documentary with a previous knowledge of, and affection for, Bergman?s oeuvre, for Nyrerod is primarily interested in investigating how an artist's personality affects his work, rather than in presenting a survey of the work itself. That?s conveniently taken care of on the DVD?s handy special feature, "Bergman 101," a career overview by film historian Peter Cowie.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).