In Search of Lost Time-or-Proustian Memory in Wild Strawberries

Remembrance of Things Past -or- Life Review 

Marcel Proust's idea of "Remembrance of Things Past" has been a powerful metaphor in understanding my own life and my dreams. As I have said elsewhere, my journey began on 11.11.1977 (Remembrance Day) when I began writing my note books. We all remember our life story, our rites of passage, our thoughts, feelings, sensations. Our biographical memories of joy, sadness, and anger, they are all stored away in our mind. Our memories about ourselves, about others, are being re-worked tonight, and every night in our dreams. There comes a time in everyone's life when we take stock of that storehouse of everyday experiences that we call memory. Often people that have had a "near death" experience will undergo a "life review". The film "Wild Strawberries" shows and tells the story of a man who reviews his life story. 

A Dream Play -or- Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries 

August Strindberg's "A Dream Play" influenced many of Ingmar Bergman's films, theatre and television productions. In his own words, "I have been reading him (Strindberg) since I was twelve or thirteen," Bergman once commented to an interviewer (1). One of his surreal dream vision like films was "Wild Strawberries" whose central character Professor Isak Borg (Victor Sjöström) is an aging old man who fears that he has one foot in the grave and now is forced to re-evaluate his troubled life.

This psychological re-evaluation comes in the form of nightmares, day dreams and flashbacks that he experiences. The psychological foreground of his "gestalt" journey reviewing his life, is connected to the background of a long car trip to Stockholm, where he is to receive honors from Lund University. Enroute with his pregnant daughter in-law, they meet hitch-hikers, who are the catalyst for setting off reveries, and reminisces of his "Proustian memory" of his life. At the psychological conclusion of the road trip, the memory lane trip and the reevaluation of his life, Borg finds affirmation and peace in life. 

Further Reading: 

  1. Lise-Lone Marker, Frederick J. Marker "Ingmar Bergman: A Life in the Theatre"



All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.