The complicated relationships between a circus ringmaster, his estranged wife and his lover.The complicated relationships between a circus ringmaster, his estranged wife and his lover.The complicated relationships between a circus ringmaster, his estranged wife and his lover.
You're not likely to come across `Sawdust and Tinsel' much these days, unless it's at an art-house, museum or festival screening, or on video. Here in the U.S., Public Television used to show Bergman films in the distant past. That time is long gone, but I can well remember seeing it on TV as a kid, and its imagery lingered in my mind like a vivid nightmare. The black and white cinematography, with wonderful use of darkness and silhouettes, makes it a very beautiful-looking film, but it is unrelentingly dark and gloomy.
Not for everybody, but it is what it is, and Bergman is Bergman. Its dream-like imagery and brutal, primal view of human nature can leave a deep impression, especially on impressionable viewers. This is undoubtedly why having seen it when growing up, I've never forgotten it. Though it doesn't seem to be particularly well-regarded these days, I regard it as great and powerful cinema in the Bergman/Nykvist tradition. At the very least, its cinematography should be well-appreciated by anyone who admires the look of films like `The Virgin Spring, ` or `The Silence.'
- Jul 24, 2001