An island in the BalticJanuary 20th, 2018
I’ll admit I enjoy Ingmar Bergman’s sentimental reminiscence Wild Strawberries better than many of his later, darker, films, but Persona is probably his best film from that era: a perfect movie for a mid-winter evening, mildly surrealistic, nostalgic, with that silken patina of Nordic melancholy. Summer on Faroe island, the breeze blowing the window sheers, the rocky beach, the grey sky, grey Baltic water, rainy days…wonderful. The film really shouldn’t really be called black and white since the wonderful nuances of silken grey were among its most powerful elements – the work of Sven Nyqvist, the finest cameraman of the 20th century.
Bergman has some interesting comments on the island Faroe and filming Persona in his 1988 autobiography Magic Lantern, pages 208 and 209:
...on my first visit (to Faroe) I told Sven Nyquist I wanted to live on the island. This is my landscape. It corresponds to my innermost imaginings of forms, proportions, colors, horizons, sounds, silences, lights and reflections… here I could retreat from the world, read, meditate, cleanse my soul… during the filming of Persona Liv and I were overwhelmed by passion. With monumental lack of judgement, I built my house with the idea of mutual existence on the island. I forgot to ask Liv what she thought. (Great comment; What guy has not made this mistake at least once?) She stayed a few years. We fought our demons as best we could. Then she got the part of Kristina in the movie The Immigrants, that took her away. When she left, we knew.
Bergman’s mystical Baltic Island inspired me to begin writing a story set on another Baltic island, Fehmarn. In my story a young woman named Silke Heydrich meets the legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix at his last concert – which was held on Fehmarn island in 1970, only ten days before his death.
The story is not yet published but should be in print this summer.