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SO CLOSE TO LIFE

Sweden, 1958 (MIFF 1964)

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Although different from most of Bergman's films, the recurring theme of death in life is still present in So Close To Life — in mood it is probably closer to Wild Strawberries than most of his other works. Three women — one unhappily married with a threatened miscarriage, one happily married facing the imminent birth of her child with joy, the third unmarried and pregnant — share a ward in a maternity hospital. Through contact with each other some of their problems are resolved and some deteriorate.

Bergman tries to portray the truth about a subject not often voiced; he seeks to point out that birth should not be taken for granted, it is often accompanied by great suffering. It is one of the director's most compassionate and certainly one of his most straightforward and uncomplicated films. The script is admirable in its reticence and precision, shot almost entirely in one location — the hospital ward. The photography is almost entirely in close up and only natural sounds are heard with the result that the dramatic impact of the film is heightened.

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