Features and Columns · Movies

What ‘Bergman Island’ Can Teach Us About Engaging With Legacy

How do creative folks avoid being buried by the legacy of our forefathers?
Best Movies Bergman Island
IFC Films
By  · Published on August 22nd, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the metatext of Mia Hansen-Love’s Bergman Island.


Filmmaking couple Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) journey to Fårö, the remote island where Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman lived and worked. The trip is both a pilgrimage and an attempt to drum up inspiration for their respective screenplays.

As our own Anna Swanson wrote in her review at the Toronto International Film Festival, Bergman Island is a marvelously personal film that worthy of its namesake. Mia Hansen-Løve’s first English-language film is deeply human and meditative; drumming up beauty and meaning at the intersection of homage, critique, and introspection. Chris, like Hansen-Løve, is haunted by Bergman’s legacy. It is a shared question that no doubt occurs to all creatives: how to make new things without being buried by the legacy of our forefathers.

The film offers an intimate engagement with the idea of metatext. Which is to say: the idea that a work of art has two levels of dialogue at once. In Bergman Island, this takes the form of Chris and Tony’s literal writer’s retreat and the effects it has on their relationship and creative practice, as well as the secondary thread of Hansen-Løve’s own reckoning with creative legacy, creative partnerships, and personal storytelling. For more, on how Bergman Island draws attention to the process of its own creation without sacrificing its core story, check out the video essay below:

Watch “Bergman Island: Art, Love, and the Unbearable Process of Making”:


Who made this?

This video essay on the metatextuality of Mia Hansen-Løve’s Bergman Island is by Broey Deschanel a self-described “snob (and a youtuber) whose video essays cover everything from new releases like Licorice Pizza and Euphoria to camp classics like Showgirls. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here and you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).