Sawdust and tinsel

Sawdust and tinsel

Gycklarnas afton

DVD - 2007 | Swedish
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A relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner and his performer girlfriend suddenly changes, when they pull into the town where the owner's wife and children live, whom he hasn't seen in three years.


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Nov 16, 2018

All the world is a dark and dreary stage indeed in Ingmar Bergman’s tragicomic look at human foibles and our endless search for something resembling love. Starting off with a fanciful flashback in which a circus clown is cuckolded by his seductive wife when she goes skinny-dipping with a cadre of soldiers (sometimes a cannon is not just a cannon) Bergman proceeds to make jesters of all his characters as they shamble in and out of the spotlight sharing a bit of drunken wisdom or punching each other in the face. A meeting between Albert and Mr. Sjuberg, a seasoned thespian and head of the neighbourhood theatre group, leads to a lecture on art versus artifice while a decisive confrontation between the ringmaster and his ursine alter ego ends with both a bang and a whimper. And throughout it all we catch glimpses of Sjuberg’s troupe rehearsing their latest play, a tragedy which ironically mimics our protagonist's own quandary. The stage may be adorned with sawdust and tinsel but the players ultimately walk away smelling faintly of manure. Ain’t life a bitch?

tkwu21 Mar 01, 2014

A beautiful piece by Ingmar Bergman. Compare to his other works, "Sawdust and Tinsel" has a very straight forward plotline rather than a bleak/ambiguous one. With a big cast and heavy production value, "Sawdust and Tinsel" gives us a glimpse of how Bergman viewed the class differences in Sweden despite it being a socialist(or rather equal) country. Although I love Bergman for his minimalist style, this is definitely one of the top Bergman films.


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