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Arlow, J.A. (1997). The End Of Time: A Psychoanalytic Perspective On Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:595-599.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:595-599

The End Of Time: A Psychoanalytic Perspective On Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries

Review by:
Jacob A. Arlow

On the morning of a special day, the day he is to receive an honorary doctorate for his contributions to humanity and science, Dr Izak Borg awakens from an unusual and disturbing dream. He is a testy old man of 75, a widower, with a surviving mother of 95, and a son, Ewald, like himself a physician. As Wild Strawberries, Ingmar Bergman's classic masterpiece, unfolds, through dreams, reminiscences and the events of that single day, we come to know and understand the central character with a penetrating insight, the kind that, as a rule, comes only from long and arduous psychoanalytic treatment. Accordingly, this film should hold a special enchantment for psychoanalysts.

In the dream, Dr Borg finds himself in a strange and unfamiliar neighbourhood, devoid of any sign of life. He looks up at a street clock. It has no hands. From his pocket he pulls a watch, a junior version of the larger clock. It too has no hands. All around there is dead silence, but at that moment we begin to hear the beating of Izak's heart. (For a clock without hands, time does not move. Izak is in the realm of timeless eternity, i.e. death.) Bewildered, Izak looks about and sees a man standing with his back to him. As he touches him, the man turns slightly, his face swathed in gauze-like bandages, obliterating his features.

The figure topples over and the head falls away from the body as blood gushes from the neck into a small pool. (In effect, Izak has killed a dead man.) At that moment the silence is broken by the tolling of church bells, while around the bend in the street comes a hearse drawn by two horses but with no rider.

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